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Sixty-Something: Getting Back Into Shape Hamptons Style

T.J. Clemente

"It's kind of fun to see so many people at the gym after the holiday season. Suddenly all the equipment is being used," the author says. (Photo courtesy of the author)

Eventually, after the holidays, it always happens. With all the holiday parties, the big family meals, the days off, the snacks during numerous football games or binging on Netflix, boom, your favorite clothes don't seem to fit just right. I swear while eating certain desserts I can actually feel my waste line expanding!

It's kind of fun to see so many people at the gym after the holiday season. Suddenly all the equipment is being used. Normally I have my choice of this device or that device. Not so much after the holidays! The exercise devices come with blue-tooth TV screens that have internet access with charts, maps, movies, and workout courses built right into them. When I was on the GWU wrestling team in 1971-1972 we had barbells, rubber mats to do sit-ups and push ups and a hanging ladder to do pull ups. Times have changed.

I still believe those Jane Fonda workout tapes of the late 1970's and early 1980's changed working out, making it cool. Richard Simmons also had a huge following too. In the 1950's it was Jack LaLanne who was the fitness guru. He had his health club chain but it was nothing like the L.A. Fitness or various franchises of today. I, being a traditionalist, belong to the YMCA.

Lately the health trend knows no age barrier. Gyms, health clubs and local YMCA's have diverse memberships. There are young folks attacking the numerous impressive apparatus to people arriving with walkers and other assistance to do basic walking and use bike riding machines.

In the Hamptons the dress code at the gyms is as diverse as the ages of the patrons. Beautiful colorful yoga pants, spandex bike pants, and neon colored shorts are worn along with tops that range from sleeveless tee-shirts, to heavy-duty worn out sweatshirts with most folks wearing their "workout tee-shirts." Add to that the designer matching warm-ups that cost at least $500. I remember my buddy telling me Paul McCartney showed up at the gym wearing old shorts, an old tee-shirt but the brightest orange shoes ever. Yes, even billionaire folks go to gyms instead of using the ones built into their multi-million dollar homes.

Us sixty-something folks remember back in the day there were two types of sneakers sold at the school store. Converse All-Stars (low top or high top) and for the girls "Skipper's" tennis shoes. Nowadays at the gym the footwear is a display of personal statement with colors, brands, lacing, and tread. Some folks wear old worn out footwear while others spend literally hundreds of dollars. What amazes me is some folks wear inexpensive footwear while wearing expensive workout outfits while others sport worn out workout clothes and the latest hottest workout shoe. You can tell that "it's a happening" at the gyms usually just before and right after the work hours by the size of crowd and the energy in the buzz. Other times it can be very quiet.

My YMCA has a pool so after working out my wife Cindi and I attempt to do some laps. Needless to say the various ways people swim laps is a column all to itself but I must admit I love the feel of swimming after a workout. Afterwards the long hot shower is as wonderful as it gets and walking out of the YMCA I feel different then when I walked in. I feel like I did my job today on fighting the war on aging and getting back into prime shape. I swear when I leave I can feel my clothes fit just a touch looser.

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