Writing about this subject was a big deal for me.
Since I started working at YWCA Fitness on 25th, I have been hearing mostly from older adults that they have aged and are not physically capable of doing things any more. After a while, I decided to go to fitness classes where mostly seniors attend, and tell them my story about how our minds can restrict us. This is my story.
I used to play basketball at competitive level. At the age of 22, the only thing I knew was basketball. I used to practice shooting on my own instead of going to parties with my friends. Basketball was the only passion I had.
I was playing as a point guard on my university basketball team. We were practicing for the university national championship when I experienced a minor lower back injury. I went with the team to the tournament and we won the championship. Soon after, I received a phone call from the National Basketball Federation. They invited me to the National Students Basketball Camp. I was young and in the prime of my game. I started training days and nights and had totally forgotten about my lower back injury.
Then, at a practice, I jumped and, to be honest, I am not sure what happened. When I opened my eyes, everybody was around me wondering what was wrong. I had broken a disk in my lower back, and that was the end of the line for me. I was not able to walk nor stand on my feet.
The day after, I found myself in a wheelchair on my way to see a surgeon. He said, “Operation room, now!”
I refused, and within the next few days, I saw a few more surgeons who said exactly the same. By then, I was paralyzed and had no feeling in my legs. That was the moment when I realized surgery was a must.
After the surgery, I was not even allowed to jog for six months. A few days prior, I was a fit guy who was capable of playing hard against an opponent, but now I was a guy who could not even jog. I was scared too. Thinking about the pain I had experienced, I did not want to even attempt any movements. And I became even more depressed.
My best friend came to visit me. He challenged me to do some body weight exercises with him in my room. And I did it. Yes, I was still capable. That was the best feeling–as I realized I was only scared of starting again. It was just a mental barrier. From that day until now, I have been working out, playing basketball and training people.
After telling my story at different classes and starting new programs at the YWCA, we started to see more seniors in our weight room and at different land classes. Thumbs up to all of them! I would like to encourage more seniors to come and join our programs and try new things.
As I was browsing the internet to find good materials for this subject, I found a short documentary featuring a group of impressive seniors called “U of Agers”. These seniors meet twice a week at the University of Alberta to do gymnastics. The U of Agers are just “ordinary” people trying to do “extraordinary” things. They are proving that if they can do gymnastics, then others in Canada have the potential to excel at whatever inspires them.
We are only as capable as we feel. You can keep active and participate in exercise and physical activity. And you may just find you don’t feel old at all.
Click here to watch the documentary on the U of Agers.
By Nima Nazemi
YWCA Fitness on 25th is a coed facility providing a range of fitness experiences in a welcoming environment to achieve your individual health and fitness goals. Watch for the next WYCA wellness article on our website blog and social media channels.