Fiscal Physical Fitness

I’m middle-aged. I’m overweight. My muscle tone is weaker than it was a decade or more ago. I have a baby. My left knee still hurts from pregnancy. Hmm. I’ve got a bit of a problem.

In 2006 I joined Fitness 19; paid $200 to join and a $12 monthly fee after that. I used the facility sporadically in 2006, even less in 2007. But the monthly fee was so low, it didn’t feel like a huge waste of money. Previously I’d been a member of Curves, which at $40 a month grew too high a price for the limited access (they close part of the day and early in the evening), the limited kind of workout, and the intrusive, over-friendly staff who insisted on “engaging” women during a workout when they might just want to, you know, work out.

Well, tonight I attempted to go to Fitness 19 to work out for the first time since my late pregnancy. It’s located in a strip mall with a puny parking lot, but usually by 7:00 p.m. the place would clear out. However, tonight there were no spaces. People were illegally parked in fire lanes. And there were new signs in certain spaces that said No Fitness 19 Parking. I groaned with frustration. What the hell to do? I turned around and went home. Ooo, I was grumpy.

I was mad. Mad at the parking lot size. Mad at the stupid parking restrictions. Mad that people hadn’t gone home sooner. Irrational, I know. Mostly I felt mad about the limitations on my time. The only opportunity I have to go out alone is after 7 p.m. weekdays and on weekends. However, to be functional, I usually try to go to sleep at 9:30 p.m. daily. This doesn’t leave much time for eating dinner, cleaning up, working out, showering, socializing, or “me” time.

One of the biggest changes for me in becoming a mother has been accepting the loss of “me” time. Mothering calls for much more of me than I imagined. I don’t begrudge this; it’s simply quite an adjustment.

I’m trying to figure out how to care for my physical well-being. Someone suggested the YMCA. Membership is $100 to join and $52 a month, with reduced fees for classes, and reasonable baby sitting services. But at $52 a month, I’d need to be sure I really went; it’s a lot more money, and we’re carefully managing our expenses. The other option is to go out for walks in the evenings in the neighborhood (knee permitting).

But now, since I’m supposed to be getting sleep, I’ll close here. Maybe I’ll wake up refreshed with a solution.

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6 Comments on “Fiscal Physical Fitness”

  1. lkd Says:

    I started walking every day in 2001. July 5th, as I recall, was the first day of this weird new me that is obsessed with exercise. I didn’t know then that it would stick. I didn’t know then that making that commitment to walk every day, every every day for an hour regardless of weather and time constraints would stick. But it did. I walked for 2 years straight before I branched out into other types of aerobic activities and added weight-lifting to the routine.

    I never miss a day. I mark my workouts on the calendar. Hang the calendar where I can see it. It’s my me time. And I don’t give it up for anyone or anything.

    Who says you need to join a gym? Take a brisk 30, 45 or 60 minute walk the next time you have me time. Walking’s free, kiddo. And it’s as good a place to start as any. Ask me. I know. Walking changed my life.

  2. gerry rosser Says:

    What Ikd said. It amazes me that people will pay money to do what is free (or nearly so). Walk (free), do calisthenics at home (free), ride a bike (some one-time expense), do a modest dumbbell routine–regularly (some one-time expense). Get a grip, if you won’t get yourself to do your own exercise program, you probably won’t get yourself to do the one you pay for.

    This is not a slap at you, my friend, just an observation. We’ve been sold a bill of goods with paid fitness centers.

    On top of that, a cheery “Hi” to you and your little clan!

  3. Catherine Says:

    Maybe you can see if your community has a local rec center. i joined mine after gaining a massive 80 pounds with my second baby and they are relatively cheap… I paid $125 per year for a family membership, which means that my nine year old can play while I work out and my one year old can stay in their nursery ($2 a visit).Another benefit is that they are always close to home!

  4. Laura Says:

    Walks are fun, but they don’t always work for me with the weather (too cold, too hot, pouring rain like someone upended a bucket…). If they don’t work for you, or only work some of the time, a few other ideas:

    If your knee will tolerate it, a mini-bike might be a good alternative. Contrary to the name, they’re not a bike at all, but a stationary peddling device without a seat, a couple feet long and just wide enough for the pedals. You just set it down on the floor, put a chair next to it, and pedal away. (Some models can be moved table-top and have the pedals switched for grips, to exercise your arms.)

    It lets you exercise at home, while watching TV, reading a book, or holding a conversation. (Bearing in mind that the thing does make noise, so only the book is completely easy; I have to turn the TV up.)

    Mine, bought on sale when that particular model was discontinued, cost me $35 – I imagine if you shop around, you could get one for the same price as a month of the YMCA, or less.

    You might also consider a fitness video from the library, I know a lot of people like them. I find them frustrating because I can’t follow clearly what’s going on on the screen, but I’m not very visual, so….

    Borrow a book on fitness (or buy one, if you have to, but libraries are a lovely resource for these things in my experience). For that matter, there are undoubtedly web sites as well. A lot of at-home activities require only minor paraphernalia (a couple hand weights, say). Or you could do simple fitness exercises like sit-ups or push-ups.

    I’m trying to get into better shape myself, lately, though without the pull on my time of motherhood, so I’ve been looking into options. 🙂

  5. Laura Says:

    I will add the one benefit to paid fitness centers – one that my friend Susan Dennis has reaped repeatedly – is someone to show you what to do and how to do it, if the explanations are making no sense. But they usually cost more in addition to the membership (as is the case for her).

    I admit, if I had her situation (the gym is across the street from where she lives!), I might reconsider the cost and go, because of the convenience.

  6. acm Says:

    the other benefit to fitness centers is that sometimes what you want is the actual gym — my spouse swims and I play racquetball, and neither of those works well at home. yes, I built walking into my life by living in a city and taking public transit, but a date to play r’ball is the only thing that will get me out for regular aerobic exercise, so it’s worth the (ahem, steep) membership price…