IF you survive the class


By Cindy Argiento

Fifteen years ago, I took an exercise class.  And now, standing in the doorway to the gym, history was about to repeat itself.

I watched as people drifted in and peeled off their coats to reveal spandex-covered bodies. Didn’t these people know they should have been wearing loose fitting, baggy sweats like me, to cover up the parts of their body that they joined the class to lose?

Watching an older gentleman enter the room, I thought back to fifteen years ago. I remembered how sweet and remarkable I thought it was that old people wanted to exercise to stay active. I now realize these people were not old. How could they be, as now I’m the age they were then. But looking at this man, I definitely saw grandpa material and so I dubbed him “Gramps.”

At 7:00 p.m. the class begun and the instructor got right to it. She showed no mercy; she had us bending and stretching; she had us twisting and jumping. She had me energized; she had me thinking I had the best one-hour workout, ever! She had me thinking time had stood still and I was proud that I was still physically fit … until I turned to the person next to me and commented on how quickly the hour flew by and discovered it was only 7:15. 

After warm-up the real workout began. The moves became more intense and required coordination, coordination that I did not have. Move right arm and left foot, switch and turn, and now left arm and right foot. “Oops, sorry,” I say to the lady next to me after I kicked her in the leg. Just when I was getting the hang of it, the instructor added clapping to the mix. I quickly realized my limitations. I cannot exercise and clap simultaneously. I can exercise or I can stand and clap. At one point I just stood and clapped for all my fellow exercisers.

Part Two, the floor exercises. While doing floor exercises, the instructor kept reminding us to breathe. Breathe? All I was doing was breathing, so hard that one might consider it panting. This psycho liked playing games with people’s lives. Then it was pulse-taking time. I couldn’t find my pulse. I probably lost it from almost passing out.

I recovered from my brush with death and moved onto exercises that required the use of tubes and bands. Being uncoordinated, I found it physically impossible to get into these abnormal positions, some of which I suspect are illegal.

At the end of class I looked over at Gramps, smiling and talking. I no longer thought of him as sweet and remarkable. I thought he was an annoying show-off.

Later that night, I thought of the exercise class and Gramps and what we got from it. Sure, he’ll get health benefits and physical benefits. But I got something he didn’t get. As I mustered up the strength to hold my pen, I thought – I got a magazine story.

Cindy Argiento is a Greensboro freelance writer and humorous speaker. She has written the book “Deal With Life’s Stress With a Little Humor.” To contact her or to book her for your next event, go to cargiento@nullaol.com.


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