From Jeanne Hambleton’s FMS Global News Desk
By Sandra Flahive (FiftySomething) January 10 2009
Bill and Susan Steffey of Grimes both have seen great physical improvements since they began exercising together at the Wellness Center at Mercy Medical Center.
Susan, 55, first started a regular workout regimen in July on the advice of her rheumatologist. Bill, 60, joined her a couple months later, hoping to lose weight and lower his cholesterol.
Three days a week, the couple attends a low-impact aerobics class that’s especially tailored to older adults. They warm up on the treadmill before class. Afterward, Bill hits the weights while Susan gets on the elliptical machine.
Both have lost weight since they began exercising regularly. Susan, who has arthritis, fibromyalgia and a pulmonary disease, says her muscles and joints are stronger and her lung capacity has improved.
Through weight training, Bill says he has been able to strengthen his bad knee and can now get up stairs without using the handrail to pull himself up.
“Neither one of us will go without the other one,” Susan says of their workouts. “That’s a huge motivator because you feel guilty. And we’ve made great friends.”
It has also given them a chance to spend more together and become closer, she says.
Because his wife’s health and stamina have improved, they are considering taking vacations, Bill says. That includes travelling to Indianapolis for a NASCAR race in July.
“Now that she is working (out) … she has got a little stronger, and we are talking about doing those things again together,” he says.
What a difference a year makes. A year is about how long Ankeny couple Bill Riley Jr. and his wife, Bridget, have been regulars at the Aspen Active Fitness Center in the West Glen Town Center.
With the help of their respective personal trainers, the Rileys say their lives have changed dramatically. The two – who were not regular exercisers – now give each other workout tips, regularly check on one another’s progress and have bought fitness equipment to use at home.
They say they feel better, have replaced body fat with muscle, eat more healthfully and are excited about the future.
“We are enjoying this. We are feeling that we are doing something for ourselves and not just letting ‘old man time’ chip away at us,” says Bill, 51. “We are feeling a lot better about being 60, 65, 70. We plan on being very active … and you cannot do that without your health. We made the decision to start that now, and we are glad we did it.”
In the past, fitness clubs had been intimidating and uncomfortable places for him and his wife, Bill says. Then he met certified personal trainer Mickey Pesek at Aspen Athletic Fitness Center.
“The personal training has made a huge difference in our outlook and opinions of joining a gym,” says Bill, whose triglycerides, cholesterol and blood pressure have decreased.
Bridget, an oncology nurse, says several factors influenced her to join her husband in getting fit: turning 50, her mother having a massive stroke a year ago and seeing how good her husband was feeling.
Bridget works with certified personal trainer Trista Manikowske. “She makes me feel confident and accomplished,” she says. “It is probably the best I have felt health-wise since I was 20.”
She says she feels healthier, has a better attitude about herself and sleeps better. The couple rarely eats out anymore, she says, and have added more fish and protein to their diet.
“We talk about growing old together and walking together and being outdoors. We talk about doing vacations that involve a lot of walking … and keeping our hearts healthy and blood pressure good,” Bridget says.
Setting goals together helps the two individuals be supportive of, and accountable to, each other, says Manikowske, the personal trainer. It is also a good idea to write down those goals.
“People with written goals accomplish five to 10 times as much as people who have never taken the time to actually write them down. It helps you remember what they are,” she says.
7 Tips for Exercising in Tandem
Certified trainers Trista Manikowske and Mickey Pesek offer these suggestions for couples working together toward physical fitness.
• Make a plan together and stick to it. Devise a workout schedule and, if you are working out separately, ask each other questions about your progress.
• Decide on a reward for meeting your goals. Looking forward to a vacation, for example, can motivate and encourage you.
• Find fun physical activities you can do together.
• Plan healthful meals, shop for groceries and cook as a couple.
• When going out to eat, split portions with each other.
• Get the whole family involved in eating more healthfully and exercising.
• For a spouse or significant other reluctant to get more physically active, give a gym membership as a birthday or anniversary gift or invite the person to work out with you. Some personal trainers offer “buddy sessions,” where two people get personal training together for an hour.
Good advice….My thanks to the Desmoine Register http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20090110/FIFTYSOMETHING/301110005/-1/SPORTS12