"Live a good life, and in the end, it’s not the years in the life, it’s the life in the years."

At age 84, why in the world would I want to exercise?

By on March 23, 2020 in Uncategorized with 0 Comments
Constance Bean goes through her exercises at the SAIL class.

By Constance Bean

As senior citizens, we are told by our doctors, children and friends that a program of regular exercise is very good for us. 

The way this information is shared one might think it is the magic cure for all that might ail you from head to toe. 

But being fair to these well-meaning folks — and exercise is truly good for us all as it does much to improve our flexibility, our moods and our bodies overall — yet at my age of 84 there is just something so comfortable about spending a few extra minutes in a warm bed, a few hours in a comfortable chair with a good book, writing an inspired next article or watching a favorite TV program. 

After participating in a busy day, I tell myself that I deserve this much awaited rest time in my favorite chair. 

To get up a bit earlier on the cold winter days, bundle up and head out the door becomes less and less desirable the older I get. 

I confess to being one of these procrastinators about getting the appropriate regular exercise these past years. Everything hurts in the morning, bed is warm, the chair feels so good and I am almost through a favorite book — I might begin exercising tomorrow. 

But this last year I had a wake-up call that said directly to me, Connie, you must plan an exercise program. 

I had a third-degree heart blockage in May and was saved only because a dear friend, Nancy Focht, was sitting next to me on my couch and insisted I needed help, and off to the ER I was sent. 

With the loving support of my children and a new pacemaker, I did not cross Jordon on Mother’s Day. In fact, I was given strict orders by my youngest daughter, Jill Cordell, this was NOT the day I was to make this crossing. 

All I could say, was OK — and put my life and care into the hands of a most capable Dr. Linn at Confluence Health. 

After a very successful new pacemaker implant, recovery and gaining of strength the old question came up once again from those who love me: When are you going to start exercising? 

With an appreciative expression on my face in response to these well-meaning folks, I shared: “Very soon.” 

In the meantime, I knew just where I wanted to be to make this happened: At Carol Wardell’s SAIL class in East Wenatchee at 10 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. 

I had heard about SAIL (Stay Active Independent for Life) and had many friends enrolled throughout the valley. But Carol was my late husband’s Jay’s SAIL instructor and he loved going to her class. She was a marvel in keeping him motivated and I knew this is what I needed. 

Carol has faced huge health challenges yet here she is giving back to all of us, encouraging us, and giving her time to help make us all healthier mature adults. 

It was very scary to attend my first class as I knew I had poor endurance and at my age didn’t want to be a poor participant in the class. 

Since I look so healthy, I assumed everyone would wonder why I could not do all the exercises just fine. But I got myself geared up for the first day, and off I went. 

Carol was clear to state what she felt I could do and most important was to listen to my body and slow down and do what I needed to do to feel safe and comfortable. 

The ladies were welcoming and there were ladies I knew already in the class. All seemed happy to have a new member. 

I loved it all. I tried everything and when the class was over, I was so proud of myself. I came home, found my easy chair, and congratulated myself the rest of the day. 

I looked forward to the next class and now believe I am totally hooked on being part of this marvelous program offered here in our valley. 

I encourage ladies, men too, to check out a SAIL class close to you to work on strength and balance. 

You do need your doctor to sign off on you attending and trust me, my doctor was thrilled to learn I had taken this step. 

So much reinforcement for participating and the best part is when some well-meaning family member or friend asks, ‘Have you thought about an exercise program?’ I can proudly answer, ‘YES! I attend SAIL classes and I am loving it.” 

My instructor is the best. Carol helps us all be our best and only wants us to enjoy the good life, be healthy and well and be able to do what we like to do each day. 

Let’s exercise everyone! 

More information about SAIL can be found at www.sailfitness.org.  If you are interested in finding a local SAIL class to attend (many have waiting lists), or being an instructor, contact Erin Cass at sailwithmeec@gmail.com or (509) 393-9113. Training and equipment is provided. 

Constance B. Bean is a retired educator living in the Wenatchee Valley.

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