By TIM LATSHAW
OBSERVER Assistant News Editor
SOUTH DAYTON - They get more exercise in a week than many people half their age receive in an entire month.
OBSERVER Photo by Tim Latshaw
Members of a group of Pine Valley resident seniors enjoy one or two mornings per week in the school’s remodeled pool. Out of pool: Lifeguard Barb Abbey. In pool, back row from left: Dean Weaver, 66; Ken Howard, 64; Jan Crowell, 66 and Leila Keppel, 84. Front row, from left: Mary Alice Stolz, 77; Inez Howard, 84 and Marion Sticek, 87.
Three days in the fitness room and two days in the pool is the standard schedule for a group of seniors taking advantage of Pine Valley Central School's exercise center. Those who wish to join them will have to get up before the sun, as they arrive between 6-6:30 a.m. - whenever the center happens to open.
"They're knocking the doors down," fitness center supervisor and lifeguard Barb Abbey said. "If we opened earlier, they would be here earlier."
Becoming as ripped as Jack LaLanne might be an outstanding endeavor, but it doesn't seem to be the overall goal of the group, who are working to improve their overall health and build strength following various surgeries and conditions.
"I'm here because of congestive heart failure," said Dean Weaver, 66. "I'm still working so I must be doing better."
While the group receives some exercise advice, there are no strict regimens or mandatory plans to follow. During a recent visit to the pool, the atmosphere was active yet social.
"I've been here an hour and a half," said Jan Crowell, 66.
"You don't look any more wrinkled," Weaver said, then swam back to avoid the oncoming target of his joke.
Even so, there is still a drive to build endurance and meet goals, which has led to some impressive results. Pine Valley Superintendent Peter Morgante was especially impressed with 84-year-old Inez Howard's way with weights.
"Mrs. Howard has the leg press record," Morgante said. "She can leg press more than me: 180 pounds."
Members of the group have also been challenging themselves outside the center. Weaver said he is currently able to bike 4.5 miles, while regular Dennis Crouse can cover 6.25 miles. Socially, members say they have also been attending more school activities and sports events, and celebrating birthdays.
While some may not think it's worth the effort to address one's fitness so regularly as a senior, members of the group who say they've reaped benefits from their workouts believe otherwise.
"If you don't keep moving, they bury you; it's that simple," said Ken Howard, 64. "That's really what it is: if you don't keep moving, pretty soon you can't."
The Pine Valley Central School Fitness Center is free to anyone age 62 or over who resides or is eligible to vote within the school district. Other district residents and alumni are charged $10 per month. Fitness room hours through November are Monday-Thursday, 6-7:45 a.m. and 3:15-9 p.m.; Friday, 6-7:45 a.m. and 3:15-7:30 p.m. and Saturday, 6 a.m.-noon. Pool hours and events are available at the center.
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