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Friday, January 3,2014

Ageless Energy For New Year

By Beth Griffin  
Not too long ago, I decided to step up my gym workouts to include “Zumba,” an exercise program of Latin origin. Alberto “Beto” Perez came up with the concept in the 1990’s. The name “Zumba” came from a Spanish term for “buzzing like a bee.” It’s a sweaty, high-energy sixty-minute challenge demanding frequent gulps of water and a towel handy. My face was beet-red for an hour after finishing the first class. Other than dancing, it’s become my favorite form of exercise.


After a few weeks, I noticed two intriguing people in my class who seemed to be regulars. Nadine Herbst, a perky and petite seventy-five year old usually planted herself in the front row. She’s a retired schoolteacher, married, a two-time breast cancer survivor, and simply put, a real inspiration. “I was an overweight kid and teased until I was sixteen years old,” she admitted. Seymour Volinski was my other standout. He’s ninety-three, “single,” and has been working out for forty-five years. “I sold furniture and was on the road a lot.” Walking each day for an hour, even around the motels he stayed in “kept me in shape.” He conquered colon cancer twenty years ago and received a new heart valve last year.

Both of my new-found friends have something in common; they get some type of exercise in various forms every single day. Nadine stays very busy attending a daily exercise class or playing tennis and fits in fifteen to thirty minutes on the treadmill. On Tuesdays she attends a Bodywork class in addition to the Zumba workout. Seymour still gets in a walk three or four days a week and tries to get to Zumba class five days a week.

Zumba music has a distinctive, heavy Latin beat. Our instructor, on the day we began to talk about our lives was Amy Benitez, an energetic and well-spoken twenty-five year old. “I was going to Zumba classes three times a week myself and enjoyed it so much, I became an instructor,” she beamed.

People of any age can participate and do as much or as little as they want in class, so age is not a factor. All of us can find at least a sliver of time in our lives to devote to better health and stronger bodies. The largest muscle group in the body is the quadriceps (the front of the thigh) and when it weakens, the ability to get up and sit down is compromised. This problem alone can put people into a wheelchair.

When I asked my two friends if there was any advice they could give, Nadine’s was to “live each day.” Seymour’s was, “laugh a lot!” Nuff said.


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