In the gym: Unfit for fitness |

In the gym: Unfit for fitness

Janet Urquhart
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado

BASALT – Who can’t master a simple, repeated step sequence – step up, lift the other knee, step down – while simultaneously punching one fist and then the other forward?

I caught occasional glimpses of this flailing woman in the mirror that lined the front wall of the room and was embarrassed. It’s not like she was drunk or something – it was 5:30 in the morning, for crying out loud.

The ineptitude would have been laughable, had it not been my own.

I tried out one of those aerobicize-type classes at my gym Tuesday morning, despite my well-justified fear of utter humiliation. I’m hoping my classmates were focused closely enough on their own efforts not to notice mine.

I took a position right behind the instructor, who managed to notice my herky-jerky style even though she was facing away from me almost continuously. Even when she graciously slowed her routine in the hopes that I could mimic basic combinations of arm and leg movements, my spastic efforts appeared controlled by a sadistic puppeteer.

Now I know how the first hapless clod to be eliminated from “Dancing With the Stars” feels. It’s like trying to master the Viennese waltz when you can’t yet do the Hokey Pokey and turn yourself around.

On a brighter note, all the spinning classes at the gym (sitting down and letting bike pedals guide my feet is within my ability) apparently have done wonders to help with my endurance. I wasn’t particularly winded by the step movements, though that may be because I wasn’t doing any of them correctly.

I also couldn’t stand still very well, at least not on one foot.

Give me 3-pound hand weights to wave around while I’m trying to hop back and forth on one foot, and I quickly advance from ridiculous to dangerous.

Fortunately, we never got around to using those big, inflated balls. The instructor wisely recognized my limits and spared her other pupils from potential harm.

At the end of an hour, I walked out of the class wondering how it is exactly that I ever learned to walk, let alone possess the motor skills necessary to ski or shift my manual-transmission car. In fact, I’ve always had good hand-eye coordination for sports like tennis and softball, so I find it infuriating that bringing my elbows to a raised knee brought me to my knees.


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