Looking around the room at my 9:30 Low-impact Aerobics class this morning I couldn’t help but smile and wonder if, when I am a senior citizen, I will possess the attitude and vitality of many of the people in my class. The class itself consists of all ages — mostly women — but since it is low impact, it tends to draw the Active Older Adult (known as AOA at my gym) crowd. I enjoy the class because it involves less jumping, and I think the teacher, Corey (late 40’s, early 50’s), is amazing and fun.
It’s cool to see the same people attending class most times. There is Donis, a tall blond lady of about 73, who looks like she could have been a runway model back in the late 1950’s-early 60’s. Such a warm smile, cheerful eyes, and a lilting, contralto voice, she doesn’t work especially hard in the class, but she goes through the movements and just really seems to enjoy being there.
Savera, one of the only black ladies in the class, is a kick. Feisty and in great shape for someone of her 70-something age, she shakes her booty and steers clear of any of the scrimmages we do, confiding to me one morning, “That exercise hurts my titties.”
Janet, another senior, is so tiny I could cut the top off of one of my socks and she could wear it for a mini skirt — if she wore mini skirts, which I am sure she doesn’t. She doesn’t smile a lot, but when she does, her whole face lights up. One day when she told me she was 75, I exclaimed, “You’re kidding!,” thinking she was closer to 62. “Why would I kid about that?” was her reply.
Janet’s friend Susan, around the same age, is cute as a button with an East Coast accent. She greets everyone with a sweet smile and dancing eyes.
Big-haired Barbara, closer to 65 in age, used to work in the Sales department at Clear Channel, my previous place of employment; we were there at the same time, but never met. She now listens to me on KIFM, and always has something nice to say about something Greg and I may have talked about on the show. She has a slight Southern drawl and drives the exact Honda CRV (color and all) that I hope to have sometime this year.
In a society where many people have such an aversion to growing old, it is truly refreshing to be around those — especially older women — who are handling it with a sense of grace and enjoyment. They are in that aerobics class, not because they have to be, but because they want to be. Along with helping them get, and stay fit, it is giving them a social outlet like no other.
I can’t help but think that my mother would have dodged a handful of her health problems had she been as active as some of those ladies in my class; she might even still be alive today. Had my mother and I lived close, I would have encouraged her to come to that class with me, where she would have, after a few visits, felt right at home. But that is water under the bridge.
Me? I push myself pretty hard in that class; it is the best workout I get all week. But I’ll admit that it’s those nice older ladies, along with Corey the instructor, that make me want to keep going back. Their attitudes are contagious and a solid reminder of how lovely growing old gracefully can be.