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Sauna 1: Overweight

by Casey White
April 11, 2002

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Sauna 1: Overweight_Casey White- The sauna at my local Y is about the only enjoyable part of my 3 times per week workout. I'm definitely on the reward system. A 10x14x10 room with cedar walls and ceiling, and with an electric heater, it's dimly lit, warm (sometimes hot,) mostly quiet, and occasionally serves double duty as a prayer closet.

I was sitting in my favorite spot: upper right bench, in the corner near the heater. My eyes were closed, and three other adults were also sitting in their swim suits in silent post-workout sweat. I heard the door open and close, felt the draft of cooler air across my face, and then heard something quite different from normal: a loud squeak, or perhaps I should say 'scrunch.' Very loud, in fact. My eyes popped open and scanned the small room.

An immense man, my guess would be 370 lbs., was climbing on the wide lower bench, making his way to the second tier. The loud and penetrating sound was coming from the wood as this man climbed up with his knee, much the same way as a young child would first start climbing stairs. I always take for granted that I can simply step up on the first bench to reach the warmer level.

When he got to the top row, he let out a burdened breath, and we all returned to our hunched-over or hunched-back positions. I scanned the sauna once more. While in some other time and place, this man may have been jeered for his weight, I was sensing here, an attitude of respect. Here was a man who was, yes, very overweight. But he was trying to do something about it. While some his size would resign themselves to the couch at home, he was making an effort.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy your reward. You are a respected companion.

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Sauna 1: Overweight
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