This morning I had a dramatic thought when I opened my eyes at five o’clock. I will start a new exercise regimen. I will do yoga every day, I said to myself peppily. Doing yoga before dawn would be the equivalent of imbibing a mystical drug that reveals the meaning of life. And I loved the image of myself as a graceful aging woman who does Sun Salutations.
Alas, I am not delusional. I will never be that stretchy woman. I might lift an occasional hefty book over my head, but I have no time for yoga. As I drank coffee and read my book, I forgot about doing the Downward Dog.
Aging is a long wrangle with flexibility, strength, expensive facial creams, and cardiovascular exercise. And you learn that you grow older even if you stretch, lift weights, cut carbs, constantly moisturize, run, bicycle, and go to the gym.
Not surprisingly, my favorite exercise is going to the bookstore. I recently walked there, going the long way, climbing up and down hills. I wasn’t out of breath, but I was surprisingly tired. Once there, I sank into a chair exhausted. The real reason I read the first few chapters of the new novel by Elif Sharak was that I was too tired to go home.
The next day, my hamstrings were ridiculously tight.
This would have been unthinkable 10 years ago. Strange to say, I was a frenetic exerciser for years. My hamstrings were never tight, they were loose. Walking, Dancercise, exercise classes—I was so healthy that my resting pulse was 42. Once when I was sick, my husband had to explain to a doctor my low pulse was not from incipient heart failure, it was from cardiovascular exercise. I was so proud of that low pulse–and now I know it was mostly about being young.
And so I need to do yoga, I told myself. I have to be able to do hills.
Tomorrow, I start.