Vacation: Day Two

Wow. Today was an up-and-down exhausting kind of day. Breakfast at 6:30, stretching and light aerobics at 8:00,  more active stretching of feet and legs with more aerobics at 8:30, a private qi gong lesson at 9, weight lifting and cardio at 10, a “just the guys” stretching session at 11, more chi work at 12, lunch, a workshop on effective eating,  a talk on internal energy work, a cycling cardio class (which wrecked/exhausted me), a dance class, and more discussion of qi gong — I think I have a new form now to add to my routine.

And I’m tired.  It was a lot of exercise for one day.  My dad looks both refreshed and depressed. I think he’s realizing (as I am) that people his age who are fit and healthy started coming here 5, 10, fifteen years ago… as a regular practice.  The number of people in my class who come for four days a year, or two days twice a year, or six days three times a year (hello, top 5%?) is astonishing. One woman said, “this is my booster class; this is where I come to remind myself that I need exercise.”

The big take-home for me came from a doctor in his fifties who is visiting for his twenty-oddth time.  He was talking to a twenty-ish ‘kid’ who was here on his family vacation. “It comes down to this,” he said. “You’ve got strength, you’ve got endurance, you’ve got flexibility.  I’ve had tests and intensives and one-on-one sessions, and they all tell me the same thing — two out of three isn’t enough. You have to work on all three — strength, endurance, flexibility — all the time. Because if one gives out, the other two are not far behind.  I see patients, they say, ‘Doc, don’t get old’, and yet they don’t know that they’re 5, ten years younger than I am.”

Some of this is luck.  As one instructor pointed out, George Burns’s prescription for a long life was a tall glass of whiskey and a cigar daily; but for most people this is a ticket to cirrhosis of the liver and lung disease.  The rest of us have to do some work.

The work was hard.  I tapped out of my cycling class twenty minutes early — I got 20 minutes of cardio, and by the end my butt was sore from the one-size-fits-most seat, my back was sore from the one-position-fits-most handlebars, and my knees were banging on the bottom of the handlebars and in pain. Enough.  I got my heart rate up, I worked on my endurance, my strength, and my flexibility today. It’ll have to do.

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  1. […] I did the form again. This time I focused on that moving through water component of Tai chi.  Even I could feel that I wasn’t slowing down.  So on the NEXT iteration of the form, I just flowed into speed-tai-chi: move fast through every posture and practice the agile, quick movements of which it is capable — something else picked up from the vacation. […]

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