By Mimi Wood, The Island Eye News Staff Writer
I’ve exercised consistently for nearly two-thirds of my life, five days a week, 30 minutes a day. My routine can be described in two words: quick and dirty. The pricey, high-end gyms never held an attraction for me; I want to “git ‘er dun”, as efficiently as possible. Back in the day, I’d roll out of bed in the dark, throw on my running shoes, pound out 3 to 5 miles, and be back and showered just as it was getting light. When my joints told me my running days were over, I joined the cheapest gym I could find in close proximity to my home.
And then we moved to our little island paradise, and my faithful routine was up-ended. I couldn’t find my groove. Upon seeing the Cardio Room at The Rec I took a hard pass; “No, thanks.” Too claustrophobic; not going “off” to workout; too time consuming. So my “routine” became a series of fits and starts with cycling, walking, dance-walking and even swimming in the ocean (THAT was a bust!) in my repertoire.
Just shy of my first year as an islander, I broke my ankle. Now I had a legitimate excuse for not exercising. Ankle healed, a year passed, and twenty pounds later, at the end of my fitness rope, I showed up at The Rec, bad attitude in tow, prepared to suffer a miserable workout in the Cardio Room.
Maybe it was the endorphins I’d been missing, but much to my amazement, the 30 minutes to which I’d committed absolutely flew by. The equipment was great; much better than the low-rent gyms I was accustomed to, and the entire facility was spotlessly clean. But the thing that really got me hooked was the sign-in sheet. Something about marking that little box every day, watching my line of checks march across the page as the month progressed, kept me coming back. I can’t explain it, but nine months later it’s still working.
The truth is, I’m hating divulging this, because selfishly, I don’t want to share my now beloved Cardio Room. There’s a comradery between the small group of hardcore regulars, but even at that, most days I’m in there dripping sweat and lip-syncing to my Spotify playlist all by my lonesome. Which is just fine by me.
Having now confessed, encouraging my fellow islanders to check out The Rec’s Cardio Room is going to sound insincere. Honestly, truly, it’s awesome… and if you have made a resolution to exercise more this year, there really isn’t a nicer, more convenient facility to do so, on or off the island.
Beyond the cardio room, there’s a world of classes, literally from A to Z: AKC Tricks Training to Zumba. The Bark Park, Camp Summershine, adult and kids rec league team sports, are all renowned throughout the islands. But did you know The Rec offers five different dog training classes? Everything from Kinderpuppy to Dog Therapy Training. Dance and acting classes for kids, a knitting group, Mah Jongg, FREE coffee every morning…there’s even a half-mile walking loop! Who knew??
Got an idea? The venerable Norma Jean Page, Director, can in all likelihood make it happen. “Over the past 20 years, if someone requests a class, we do our best to try it,” Page states. (Although, she did nix the nude figure drawing proposal.) “We’ve instituted some very good programs from suggestions.”
To wit: Two conversational Spanish classes are starting in January. Pickle Ball is on the horizon. And, as a result of numerous requests, the gym is open on Sundays, from 1-3 p.m. for adults, and 3-5 p.m. for families. Come check out the gorgeous new gym floor.
The bi-annual IOP Recreation Activity Guide is a quick and informative read, enumerating all that The Rec has to offer. Barre class and boot camp. Tae Kwon Do and table tennis. Even a library! So many options, so few excuses. It only takes 21 days to form a habit. Just stay away from “my” elliptical.
The Isle of Palms Recreation Department is located at 24 28th Avenue. The Activity Guide is available online at iop.net/recreation, or pick up a hard copy at The Rec, HarrisTeeter, The Marina Market and other island locations.