Finding My Jig

By Rose Ann Sinay

Exercise has always been a dreaded chore. The adrenaline high my athletically motivated friends talk about has always eluded me — so have the benefits. I’m a bookworm sort of person, exercising my mind instead of my body. But, as I grow older, I think more seriously about my physical well-being since exercise always tops the list in prevention of everything from heart disease to dementia to skin problems.

I have proof of good intentions over my lifetime. Those twenty-five year old running shoes stored in their original box show no signs of wear, although the previously bright white ties are now yellow with age. Somewhere in the attic lies a Suzanne Somers Thigh Master, a plastic Stair Stepper, a Twister Exerciser, jump ropes, and gadgets I can’t figure out which end is up.

When I entered my twenties, I became a member of Gloria Stevens Figure Salon. It had just opened up in a strip mall across the street from my place of work. Convenient — no excuses. I actually donned pink tights, a purple leotard and a sweatband to stand in one spot with a wide vibrating belt strategically placed around my hips to shake off that bulging fat. After ten minutes, I would unhook the strap and drape it around the biggest part of my thigh — five minutes on each side of each leg. I had no doubt as I sat on the barrel roller (with those big, wooden, rotating beads) it was moving the jiggled fat away. Where it moved I didn’t know, didn’t care — just away was fine with me. The salon manager’s tape measure verified that I was a fraction of an inch smaller. I wiped the single droplet of sweat from my brow (with the ever present neck towel) and changed back into my street clothes feeling absolutely svelte. The phase passed when the clothes in my closet did not grow bigger. They were still as tight around those thoroughly pummeled spots as they were before the “exercise.”

Several years later, when I looked into the mirror and realized I had become a sloth — just hang me upside down and give me a banana — I knew I had to do something. That’s when I bought the running shoes. I got lots of advice from my friends on making the correct purchase. Don’t go cheap, you get what you pay for, your feet will fall apart if you don’t get the right support. Of course, I bought the best. I put on the newly purchased jogging suit to go with those new sneakers and pulled my hair back into a pony tail. I took it slow, best to build up the speed. I made it to the stop sign at the end of my road, approximately one quarter mile with a small uphill grade. I still had to get home. My feet hurt; a blister had already formed on my heel. I took off the expensive shoes, tied the strings together and slung them over my shoulder. I hobbled back home in my socks. There was always the old Richard Simmons tape.

Eventually, Curves, a fitness center, moved next door to my current place of employment. How much easier could it get? I attended the open house and signed a year’s contract. Surely that would keep me going. I rotated in their exercise circle for a month before I began finding excuses to drive home in the opposite direction.

Over the years, my exercise routine has remained sporadic. I move my feet constantly while watching television to burn a few extra calories and keep my heart rate up—well, higher than simply lounging on the couch. I walk around the house with one pound cans of beans in my hands which are often replaced by the telephone. I always use a land line. It weighs more than the cell phone.

My most recent attempt at organized physical activity was dancing to the radio turned up full blast. A guest on Dr. Phil, or The Doctors, or some other TV talk show, lost one hundred pounds and lowered her cholesterol dramatically that way. I like dancing so I decided to give it a try. I used moves my body hadn’t experienced in many, many years: The Pony, The Swim, The Jerk. I suggest eliminating the last one if you have a bad back. But, I danced, uninhibited — wild even — putting all my energy into the movements.

One day I noticed a golfer standing on the tee, looking in the direction of our house. Did I mention our over-sized windows line up perfectly with the sixth tee box of the golf course? I stopped swinging my arms. I had once asked my husband if he (anyone) could see inside the house with the shade slats slightly tilted.

“Of course you can’t see inside,” he said as if it was a silly question. This is the same man who never removes his sunglasses when I ask if I have too much blush on my face. I should have known better.

Frozen to the spot, I raised one arm and waved. I prayed that he didn’t wave back. He did. I waited until the golfer drove his cart away to close the blinds. My dignity obliterated, I sat down and ate three cookies and a bowl of ice cream.

These days I still dance around the house, perhaps not quite so enthusiastically Once in a while I let loose and throw my sassy version of an Irish jig into my routine. I’m pretty proud of myself; not everyone could do the intricate moves. I leave the shades open for that one.

About this writer

  • Rose Ann Sinay Rose Ann Sinay is a freelance writer typing away in sunny North Carolina. Her articles/stories have been published in The Carolinas Today, The Oddville Press and The Brunswick Beacon.

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19 Responses to “Finding My Jig”

  1. Tammy Rohlf says:

    So glad to know that someone else shares my version of exercise and has “invested” in so many of the same equipment. You just motivated me – now what did I do with those running shoes?

  2. Mary Russell says:

    I would have liked to see you dancing, Rose Ann. Very cute!

  3. Colleen Wenthen says:

    I have seen your moves on the dance floor – keep the blinds open. Great story so true for do many people.

  4. Lindsey Wenthen says:

    That is hysterical! I always wonder if golfers can see into my parents’ house. I guess I know the answer! Keep on dancing!

  5. Joan Eaton says:

    Love it. How true. We can all come up with excuses why we don’t exercise!!!

  6. Another wonderful article, Rose.
    Love your take on exercise! I feel the same way, but I think you are more coordinated.

  7. Patsy says:

    Great article Ro, l also had a pair of pink tights, sweat bands and neck towels. my motto has always been if you look good you feel good no matter what you are doing. Leave the blinds open and always do your Irish jig- Happy New Year!!

    • Rose Ann says:

      Thanks for the encouragement, Patsy! I bet we looked just fine in our pink and purple. If you wait long enough, everything comes back into fashion! Thanks for reading and commenting.

  8. Britt says:

    An awful lot of that sounds very familiar including Gloria Stevens which some one gave me as Christmas present-I saw red!

    • Rose Ann says:

      Ouch! That sounds like the year Terry gave me an iron for Christmas . . . I’ve never received a small appliance since!

  9. Shelby Wallace says:

    As always, I love your stories Rose Ann! Maybe we both should meet for a walk this spring instead of at the donut shop??? But I love our breakfast outings! See you soon.

  10. Rose Ann, I laughed out loud at your getting caught doing the locomotion or whatever it was. Great story.

  11. Rose Ann says:

    Thanks, Linda! I can laugh now. The cookies helped a lot:) Thanks for commenting!

  12. Hysterical story. Gloria Stevens…..now that’s a blast from the past. I may be a 50 year old guy, but I can relate to the challenges of exercise, obliterated dignity and, of course, drowning my sorrows in ice cream. These may be stories geared towards women, but it can be equally appreciated by men.

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