SilverSneakers add to active lifestyle (Autumn 2009)
Pat Hagemeier of Russellville started life as a self-proclaimed klutz, but her love
of exercise has helped her overcome numerous obstacles.
When her children were small, she enrolled in an exercise class at the YWCA and
was immediately hooked. "I bought a Good Housekeeping 78 rpm exercise record to
use when I couldn’t find a class to take and faithfully worked out to it. I also
got a 45 rpm record called "Chicken Fat," and my children would join me in marching,
doing jumping jacks and touching toes during cooped-up winter days."
Later, as a school counselor, she and other teachers would exercise to a video in
the library at the end of the day and then walk the track. She said her children
would often join her on the walk to share their day. "It was a wonderful time to
talk and to transition."
About 17 years ago, St. Mary’s Wellness Fitness Center opened in Russellville, and
Pat and her husband, Dean, began taking advantage of all the classes and facilities.
"I did weight lifting, cardio and stretch classes and loved the way I felt." Two
years ago, the center added the SilverSneakers® Program, and Pat said that with those added classes she
is at the facility four or five times a week.
"They’re fantastic," Pat said of the staff at St. Mary’s Wellness Fitness Center,
adding that the SilverSneakers classes are so popular, "there’s always a room full"
of 40 or more people. And the classes aren’t easy, even for a seasoned exerciser
like Pat. "They push you a bit and challenge you to increase your endurance. You
leave feeling really good."
Pat and Dean have made the fitness center a part of their daily routine, even though
they often don’t go at the same times. Pat said she likes to go early in the day
for the classes, while Dean often goes later in the day to use the whirlpool and
other facilities. She said the fitness center has brought them even closer together,
because they both see their friends and can share the latest news when they get
back together for meals.
Dean, 76, is an avid bicycle rider who has participated three times in the Des Moines
Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, a seven-day bicycle ride. According
to the Des Moines Register, the ride is the longest, largest and oldest touring
bicycle ride in the world.
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