Seniors keeping fit by staying active

By: Marci Seither, Colfax Record Correspondent
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Many people are working toward their 2011 health goals, but for seniors the main key to staying fit is staying active. “You’ve got to keep moving,” said Chicago Park resident Margie Dolezal, 72. “Never quit. Even if it is hard to roll out of bed, you have to get up.” Dolezal is among the area seniors who are participating in the Zumba Gold classes offered at Studio Z in Colfax. “We have several from our hiking group who also come here. I have done aerobics all my life and this is a fun way to get the exercise I need,” said Dolezal, who started taking classes over a year ago. While Zumba may be new on the fitness scene, choreographed aerobic dancing has been around since Jazzercise and Jane Fonda made headbands and leg warmers part of women’s attire. “I have exercised my whole life,” said Marilyn DeMarco, 64. “I was a ballet student when I was younger and have always done some form of aerobic exercise.” De Marco, along with the other seniors who fill the weekly classes, say that it is not just the level of exercise they appreciate, but also the fun music that helps create the contagious enthusiasm needed to keep exercising fun. “It is exotic and exciting,” said DeMarco who also serves as a Colfax Area Chamber of Commerce ambassador. “It is different from anything I have done.” DeMarco loved the workout so much she decided to become a certified Zumba instructor. “Hopefully I can encourage others to get involved and stay active.” Being able to take classes in Colfax helped the nimble petite fill a fitness need as well as a social need. DeMarco and her husband moved from San Jose to Colfax a few years ago. “It has been a great way to connect with others in the community and meet new friends.” Colfax resident Jim Miner feels that making a community connection is a valuable side benefit to belonging to Fitness 4 Life. “If I don’t come to the gym for a while, the owners Heidi and Gordon Allen, call to make sure I am doing OK,” said Miner who will celebrate his 79th birthday in March. Miner joined the local gym five years ago after he and his wife, Rosemary, were in a serious accident. “I had seven fractured ribs and a fractured sternum,” said Miner. “The physical therapist was coming to the house every week to run me through some strengthening exercises.” Miner decided that if he could do exercises at home, he could do the same thing at the local gym on a daily basis. “I went to the gym and Gordon said he would work with me and my limitations,” he explained. “He really helped me improve my health and has been a good influence and encouragement.” Miner believes he was able to recover from the accident due to the diligence of following a regular routine. “In fact if I take my shirt off I look like a regular Mr. Atlas,” Miner laughed. “My wife Rosemary has kept us on track for staying active and eating healthy. Plus, she makes sure we stay on a regimen of vitamins.” Miner is a firm believer in taking ownership of one’s health. “It is pure laziness to not take care of yourself,” he said. Making health and fitness a priority is something that Cecile Wood of Colfax has taken seriously for decades. “I have been taking aerobic classes for over 20 years,” said Wood as she began warming up for a Yoga class at Colfax Wellness Center. “I feel so much better after I have done all the stretching,” stated the vibrant 70-year-old. Wood credits Yoga and Tai Chi with helping her manage the symptoms of Fibromyalgia. A recent fall has kept Wood from attending Zumba, where she enjoys interacting with others. But she hopes to return to the aerobic dance class soon. Whether it is walking the quaint streets of Colfax or taking classes and hitting the gym, area seniors have several options to stay active.