Councilman Lou Waters

Knowing you need to change your lifestyle and doing something about it creates anxious moments for some. It’s called “the fear factor” and for those of us of a certain age, it dates back to high school - physical education class.  I hated it. Especially the pull-ups and the jeering classmates betting I couldn’t even make five of them.

Fast forward to Medicare and supplemental insurance plans offering “The Silver Sneakers” fitness program for older folks. There are 10 gyms in Oro Valley and many offer this program. Doctors now are recommending cardio and strength training to improve your health. Imagine, doctors prescribing exercise for baby boomers to lower blood pressure, tone muscles and live a better, healthier life. And it’s inexpensive. 

Now comes the “fear factor” part. When I began my mornings at the gym, I was surrounded by hulking guys with wide leather belts around their waists lifting three times their body weight and groaning loudly for the rest of us. The memory of high school physical education class came rushing back. It was uncomfortable.  But when one of these groaners kicked me off a machine I was using because he needed it for his strength routine, I was done.  For me it wasn’t fear so much as being uncomfortable in my environment. I later learned that “groaners” are not allowed at certain gyms.

But then I checked out Anytime Fitness at Magee and Oracle Road.  Mike Urbanski, a high school runner, former track coach and assistant Salpointe High School principal, is the owner.  He and his family have created a comfortable and inviting space to work on yourself. It’s where I spend most every morning.

Mike told me the story of the couple who pulled up in front of his establishment and remained in their vehicle for some time before gathering courage to enter his establishment.

If any of this sounds familiar, know you’re not alone:  “I don’t fit in. I’m embarrassed. I may use the equipment the wrong way. I’m not good enough. I might get hurt”, are reasons we use to delay or avoid a gym.  But they’re not good reasons. Comedian Lewis Black, calls us his “snowflakes” - no two of us alike.  So if you’re feeling embarrassed or inept, know others around you are dealing with their own gym issues.

Mike guided those folks in the parking lot over the threshold and past their fears. He tells me it takes less than a month to get comfortable. around. There are many gyms to choose from. Find a space that feels right. Ask for a free week to try it out.  Commit to it and within 6-months you’ll begin to see results. My advice: Get checked out by your doctor, start shopping around for a gym and get over your high school bullies. If I can do it, you can.  Join me.  And I promise not to groan.   

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