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A Happier Athlete is a More Fit Athlete
by Penny Hoff


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I had a few of those fitness moments last week that made me feel my age.

First, I fell down in my spinning class. I know, I know. You normally sit safely on the saddle during most classes, but in my class, you never can expect normal things to unfold. Anyway, mid-class, I got off my bike to motivate (!) a few of my favorite moms in the back row and somehow -- this is where it gets all blurry as to what exactly made me land on my face, but I know it wasn't athletically -- I fell down like one of those old ladies they show on "America's Funniest Home Videos" (I love watching those clips, but they are funnier when they are not me.).

I was in a sort of slow motion with a few lurching steps and arms flailing -- actually a workout in itself. Then, "No, officer, I wasn't wearing my seat belt."

It quickly turned into, "Can she catch herself?" "Can she defy the embarrassment rushing at her from the ground up?" (Sigh.)

Sadly, no.

And the most upsetting, and my least favorite part of this story, is that all the moms I was hoping to inspire almost had motherly heart attacks, knowing that I am just a few months post-op from having my hip done (stay with me).

So instead of the fun memories I have of falling down as a teenager (my favorite of which was when I was holding cymbals in concert band class and stayed on the ground laughing so hard I almost peed my pants), instead of this fall being HIGH-larious, it was just... like... an old lady. Gasps were followed by "Are you okAAAYYY?!" followed by palms to the chest followed by "Whews!"

Then I got up and checked to be sure my hips were actually in their sockets, just to reassure the moms.

I went back to my bike, leaving my fitness pro persona over there, in a heap on the floor. It doesn't really end there. I went into the next room to teach my next class, a Core Revolution class. After enjoying some homemade black bean soup for dinner the night before, as I was just sitting there talking, my own core had it's own little revolution and a certain noise came out of my body (not my mouth). That made me wish I'd fallen down again.

And once again, no one fell apart laughing. Although no one looked concerned like they did when I fell (although there was maybe more reason to be concerned), there was pretty much silence. Those moms are so polite.

No one looked at anyone else. We just kept exercising.

Looking back, I tried to remember if the sound could have possibly been passed off as maybe my sneaker squeaking, but my ears have the auditory equivalent of a photographic memory and mine was a noise no shoe has ever made.

Does this make me less of an athlete? Does this make me less fit?

No. (Maybe the real question should be "Does this make you want to skip my class?")

But here's the thought that I've had all week and it is this: Things change. We start to take ourselves -- and everyone around us, for that matter -- so seriously. If I can just start to choose to laugh when something unexpected happens instead of getting flustered, I'd be a happier athlete and a happier athlete is a more fit athlete in my workout world.

So that is my fitness advice for this week. Look for those Bill Cosby moments. Roll down your window and have a joke with the neighboring driver at the red light. Wink at the mailman. And if you happen to see me walking down the street and I fall flat on my face, don't feel obligated to help me up.

Just laugh loud enough so that I can hear you as you drive by.



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About the Author

Penny Hoff is a health/ lifestyle/fitness coach, with two hip replacements who has over 25 years of experience, teaching exercise classes and inspiring aging athletes who want to get their active lifestyle back. She believes we can all stay younger for longer by taking charge of our own health and fitness issues which limit us. She is the Dr. Oz of the fitness world and owner of Penny's Workout World. You can find her website at NewHipTips.com.




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