Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Wick Fisher
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

What a workout on way to lose weight

Wick's World


A psychic’s reading foretold the promise of better health by following this proclamation: “Taking frequent steam baths will eradicate toxins from your body, resulting in a more healthful condition.”

Steam baths open up the pores in your lymphatic system by sweating. The preferred Minnesota way of sweating is either hard work or taking a sauna, the Finnish way of removing toxins. The psychic never mentioned saunas, but perhaps they have never been to Minnesota. Therefore, in order to avoid wasting money on the psychic reading, my wife and I decided to listen to the advice given. We joined a health spa conveniently located four miles from our home.

The fitness center has four basketball courts. I’ve always loved to shoot hoops, especially free throws. In my first dozen attempts, I managed to reach the rim only a couple of times. Within a week, I was making half of my shots.

Improvement is the name of the game at a fitness center. I found it is also an opportunity to meet people. While sitting in the sauna or the steam bath, small conversation is OK. I made a new friend on the first day. I entered the steam bath unable to see if I was alone or had company. The air was so thick with steam I was lucky to find a spot on the bench without sitting on someone. Eventually, I could focus my eyes enough to spot one other person sitting a few feet away.

“I haven’t been in a steam bath since I was in Istanbul in 1971,” I said.

Surprisingly, the man replied with an Arabic accent, “I lived in Istanbul for several years. It’s not good for Americans to go there now.”

We acknowledged each other while leaving the dressing room and I had now made my third friend on my first workout. Marissa was my first friend. This friendly lady gave my wife and me the tour and signed us up as club members. She welcomed us to stop by her office anytime. When I expressed interest in Zumba, she eagerly promised to join me in the group dance exercise.

Next, I met Scott. He showed me around the workout area and put me on the treadmill. It is his job to find out the stamina and status of the members' health. I told him I was 70 and had just returned from Costa Rica and Nicaragua.

“I climbed a couple volcanoes and took several hikes in the rain forest,” I proudly told him. “I kept up quite well with the 30-something crowd. I’m in pretty good shape.”

Scott kept turning up the speed and elevation on my treadmill and I kept chugging along, barely breaking a sweat, when he said, “How are you doing?”

“A walk in the park,” I replied.

He admitted he first wanted to reply to my statement about being in good shape with, “That’s what they all say when they first come in here. You are one of the few that are in pretty good shape. I can barely get your heart rate to rise. Now let me show you some of our other exercise equipment,” Scotty offered.

At the end of our first session, Scotty offered to be my personal trainer. I was really interested, but I was also concerned about the cost. I knew this couldn’t possibly be a free service as the monthly fees to use the club 24/7 was only $60. I found out I could have Scotty one hour a week for only 100 bucks. Perhaps someday he’ll be my trainer and I’ll be his student. Currently, we’ll remain friends.

My homemade training schedule begins by swimming one lap to the end of the pool, taking a 30-second breather and returning to the other side using the backstroke. No need to worry, Michael Phelps. Your 20-some gold medals are secure. I love swimming; I just don’t remember it being this hard. It undoubtedly has something to do with the 30 pounds I’ve added over the last 30 years. Continuing to add a pound per year means if I reach my goal of living to 100, I’ll look like the Pillsbury Doughboy at my funeral.

For now, I am doing quite well on my own. I am walking the mill, climbing steps, lifting weights, pushing leg presses and pulling muscle builders. I love the part of my workout with the sauna, whirlpool, steam bath and pool. Life is good. Actually, life is better.


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