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Choosing a health club


According to AARP, it is most important that the club you join makes you feel welcome and comfortable and suits your personal needs and fitness goals. Ideally, it is close to your home or place of work and has plenty of available parking, eliminating the most common excuses for skipping workouts. Other factors to consider:

  • Are there many members your age or with disabilities? Having workout buddies can make exercise more enjoyable and help you stay motivated.
  • Is the staff friendly, knowledgeable, and available to answer your questions and show you how to use the equipment?
  • Is the exercise equipment in good working order and sufficient so members need not wait in line to use it?
  • Are group fitness classes you want to take available, taught by professionally certified instructors, and offered at an appropriate level and at convenient days and times?
  • Is there a swimming pool? Is it in good condition, clean, easy to get in and out of, and warm enough for you?
  • Are there dietitians, massage therapists, and physical therapists providing on-site services should you want to make use of these?


Moving out of my comfort zone

I joined our community hospital's wellness center intending to put in my required time (and not a minute more) on the exercise machines and then leave as quickly as possible. Fitness classes, with intimidating names like Boot Camp and Muscle Madness, hold no appeal for me. In fact, just walking by the room makes me break out in hives.

Recently though, increased tightness in my legs forced me to move out of my comfort zone and join a flexibility class. On day one, I smugly noted that most of my classmates are quite a bit older than me. Any hope that this would give me an edge, however, was quickly dashed. These people are not novices. They never miss a beat as they lunge and extend, taking weights and bands with them. Every time I look in the mirror, I'm the one out of step.

There was a time when my competitive nature would not allow me to do things I knew I wasn't good at, but Parkinson's is a humbling disease. As it progresses, there are fewer and fewer things we are able to do as well as or as quickly as we once did. Our choice is to limit our world a little more each day and give Parkinson's an early victory, or fight back with all we have. I made my choice. I'm still going to flexibility class.










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