I just purchased a treadmill. Continuing recovery from my 2019 medical difficulties and diagnoses like osteopenia require walking. This got me to thinking about exercise, then and now. When we were growing up on West 83rd Street and when we are aging back on Long Island.
Exercise in the good old days was reserved for specialists. The training for fighters and runners appeared periodically in magazines and certainly in films. We didn’t think about exercise for mere mortals.
We played many street games (handball, stickball, football, stoopball) that required exertion but never for exercise. We bowled, we played baseball in the park and we walked to and from JHS 44. These were never considered to be for our health, long or short term.
Winter brought sledding, snowball fights from one side of 83rd Street to the other, climbing snow mountains at bus stops, and moving pieces on board games.
When I took up bike riding (finally at 40) that clearly became for exercise although it didn’t start out as such. It turned out to be too late for my coronary status and was terminated after an accident involving a raccoon in the early morning hours.
We owned a treadmill which i rarely and then never used. We owned a nordic track skier which I rarely and then never used. I even moved it to Forest Hills and never set it up and then I moved it to Rockville Centre and used it a couple of times but found it beyond my capabilities.
I had a stationary bike in Forest Hills which was used occasionally and then not at all. This too came to Long Island for rare use, again my inability to stick with it and the difficulty of using it.
In recent years, exercise has been a craze that passed me by, but my limitations now have called me to it. I can’t run, I hope to be able to walk more than a couple of blocks. In the ideal world, I’ll be able to throw away the cane, I’ll be able to take trains and subways (managing the stairs) and I’ll visit West 83rd Street to see how much it has changed.
I know that keeping at it is the secret to achieving this goal and I’ll try.