The day after I turned 65 years old I joined the YMCA, having learned that I just became eligible for the Silver Sneakers exercise program.
I needed it. I'm only 5-foot-6, but I checked in at well over 200 pounds.
So I started my own unsupervised exercise regimen, mostly working out on two different types of low impact bicycle machines each morning.
The machines are computerized (for the lack of a better term), and before you begin each session, you enter your weight and age on the touch pad. I assume this somehow calibrates the machine to determine how many calories or how much mileage you personally burn during each workout.
On some machines, the hand grips are sensitively designed to capture your heart rate, if you need that information.
I don't know how the machines know this stuff. And maybe they really don't, but I'm believing the readouts are somewhat accurate because it's good for my psyche while I'm pedaling my butt off and the sweat drips into my eyes.
When I first started on the machines, I was tickled to burn 300 total calories in a session, which usually lasts about 90 minutes. But over time, as I got used to the exercise, I significantly increased my pedal resistance and thus my calorie burn.
On Saturday, I reached a new personal goal. I burned off 1,000 calories in about two hours. Between the two machines, I pedaled 22 miles, which might be the equivalent of riding a real bicycle to Thomasville and back again.
I cool down after each workout with 10 minutes in the whirlpool and 10 minutes in the sauna, of which the sauna, for some reason, makes me feel like I'm in Norway. Norwegian wood, I guess. Hey, I have an active imagination.
Anyway, I'm starting to get results where you can't deny the numbers. I now weigh in the 180s (which means I'm about halfway to where I want to be), and I've dropped at least one pants size.
I've coupled this daily exercise with a reasonable diet, thanks to my wife. Kim has been following her own diet plan through Slim Solutions, and while I don't do the supplements, my meals are the healthy meals that Kim prepares.
It all seems to be working.
There was a time when I once weighed 155 pounds (I was also 5-7 back then, before gravity and spinal compression got me) and wore 32s. I may never see those numbers again, but at least I feel like I'm headed in the right direction.