Tuesday, Apr 24, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Mary Alice Powell

It's time to get out, get moving

Yesterday I walked to the corner and back.

Today I will try to forget the price of gas and drive 12 miles to the gym in Adrian. And return home of course.

If this extremely conscientious exercise program continues, by October I will either sport a sleek new body or transport the old one in a wheelchair for having overdone it.

Sticking to an exercise program is not easy. Don't think for one minute I didn't think of several things to do before yesterday's morning hike. Weeding, the laundry, and telephoning a friend are examples. It's not nice to wish for rain when it's time to take your walk because you know it's not the end of the world if you walk through the raindrops.

We are only looking for an excuse that usually is supported by "I'll do I later."

I doubt if there is any gym in this region that can intimidate an amateur exerciser more than Jeff Willett's Powerhouse Gym in Adrian. The three floors were originally the J.C. Penney Co., which explains its size and perhaps why I feel comfortable there despite my amateur gym performance status. While growing up we shopped at Penney's and as a cub reporter on the Adrian newspaper the store was on my downtown news beat.

Jeff did a masterful job converting the onetime department store into a first class gym that includes the third floor for aerobic classes.

The gym is equipped with the latest exercise machines that are always in use by strong, agile, muscular young men and women when I stop in for 10 minutes - maybe - on the treadmill, and another 20 minutes of easy pulls and stretches and very light weight-lifting. I hate treadmills; that's when time really stands still, but if it's good for cardio, then I must do it.

John Dillard is a professional trainer on staff, but Kathy Wollet helps me use the right machines for the right length of time.

Jeff, a 1996 Adrian College graduate, is definitely the smiling, cordial host at his gym, but to his fans and in body building circles he is a champion. In 2003, a year before he opened the Adrian gym, he was named Mr. Universe, the highest honor from the International Federation of Body Builders. Saturday he will compete in the National Physique Committee Natural championship in Detroit.

When done briskly and on a regular schedule, walking is said to improve the body's ability to consume oxygen, lower resting heart rate, reduce blood pressure, and overall to increase the efficiency of the heart and lungs. All of that and burn a few calories too. With the right attitude, walking should be a pleasure. This morning the frogs were still croaking and the birds were flitting about. I wanted to take a rest and pick a wild carrot, but walking rules are "don't stop."

I have engaged in gym and walking exercises enough times to know that once you do it, you definitely feel better. But because I have been a drop out as many times I also know it's a struggle to get back in shape. This morning's walk was tough. I already dread the treadmill tomorrow but I fear illness a whole lot more if I don't stay fit.

With a birthday on the horizon, the fitness package is a gift to myself. Since obesity and high blood pressure are leading risk factors for heart attack and stroke, walking is cheap protection against them. No shopping, no credit card. The walking is free; the gym is a nominal cost.

Goodness knows no one else is going to do it for me, or for you either.

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