Getting Older, Getting Stronger

growing-old-is-not-for-sissies-man-magnet-c11749950

Talk about tough. I love this photo.

There are some days, I am not very motivated. I want to be excited about working out and running, but sometimes I’m just not feeling it. But recently I got a quick reminder of why what I am doing is important.

A few days ago I was wandering through the fitness section of our local mega-store and spotted a dumbbell sitting on the clearance rack. It was a Reebok 20 pound hand weight. It was really nice, and on clearance for 50% off. (They’ve apparently changed styles.) I’ve been buying my home weight collection a bit at a time as needed. I’m not up to 20 pounds yet, and they only had one, but I figured it was too good of a deal to pass up. I thought I might be able to find its mate at another mega-store, or I could use it for single weight exercises.

A day or so later I went back to the mega-store to pick up something else completely unrelated. Since I was there though, I thought I would wander back to the fitness section… just in case. And what did I spy?? Another identical weight! It wasn’t on the clearance rack, it was tucked away on a different shelf with the regularly priced weights. It also didn’t have an official price sticker, obviously someone had bought it and returned it or something, and the store staff had just jotted down the UPC and taped it on. The price wasn’t even on it, so I didn’t know if I would get the clearance deal, but I figured I couldn’t really lose.

I brought it up to the sales counter and placed it on the conveyor belt. The checkout woman couldn’t seem to find the UPC. I tried to tell her it was on the front, but when she still seemed to be having problems, I picked it up and moved it so she could see it. I paid for my purchases and then realized the problem… she couldn’t lift the weight. She was trying to get it off the scanner and give it to me, but couldn’t pick it up – even with two hands! She wasn’t that old, maybe late 50s or early 60s, and she works at the check out – I would think that she had to deal with ridiculously heavy things all day long, like bags of dog food and giant jugs of laundry detergent. I might have passed it off to carpal tunnel or arthritis, but when I picked it up she exclaimed, “You just picked that up like it was nothing! 20 pounds is a lot to me!” and she was laughing.

It wasn’t nothing, 20 pounds is a fairly substantial amount, but I carried it easily (along with my other purchases) out to my car – not using a cart. While I was walking, I was thinking about the clerk. This is a woman who stands all day long, lifting and moving items, and yet, she couldn’t lift a 20 pound weight. A voice inside my head said:

This is why you are working out.

My mother has very little upper body strength. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to lift boxes out of her car or carry things up or down her stairs for her. Things that didn’t seem all that heavy to me. I don’t want this to happen to me.

I believe in that old saw “if you don’t use it, you lose it.” I’m only 39, but I work in a mostly sedentary job and could very easily live sedentary life. I am making choices right now about building my strength, getting more fit and building my stamina not just to feel good and feel better today, but because I want to do what I can to feel good for the next 40 years.

I love this woman.

Pure inspiration right here.

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