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by Carol Brandon

At age 85, I have made a remarkable, life-changing discovery. I'm excited to share it in case it will help others. But first, a little background.

When the new Century came around, one of my resolutions was to get more exercise. To that end, I enrolled in a women's only gym. We were instructed to work out 30 min., three or four times a week. I really enjoyed the routines, and began making friends with the other ladies. I'm proud to say I stuck with it. I've clocked well over 2,000 workouts.

After a few years, I noticed that most of the ladies were more interested in gossip than in getting a lot of exercise. I was discouraged until I met Connie. At 86, she was even older than myself. I was astonished to see she could do the plank and hold it for 5 minutes! She also did push ups! "You can do them, too," Connie enthused. At first, my attempts provided laughs for the other ladies. Little by little I got better. Today, I can do a plank and push ups. However, I still wanted a more challenging work out.

One day, a younger friend of mine told me she was working out at a 24 hour fitness club. "Isn't that just for young exercise jocks?" I asked her. She told me there were people of all ages. And, yes, most were young and fit. 'Because of our age, they will let us join for free if we are on Medicare." WOW! That sold me.

My initial visit to Planet Fitness was quite intimidating. The equipment was definitely not for someone my age. However, it was explained to me that I could use the machines at the lowest level. The treadmill can be adjusted to the speed of my choice. I was afraid people would stare at me and wonder what I was doing there. Not so! They barely gave me a second glance.

I quickly developed my own routine. I do 10 minutes on the treadmill, and 20 minutes on some of the machines. I do this four times a week and feel great! My heart rate has even gone down to 57, which I'm told is very good. The exciting thing for me is that I have more energy now, and even feel younger! It's said that if you hang out with old people, you will act old. I've found that working out with young people has a youthening effect.

There's another aspect to all this. I feel I am an example to these young folks. Recently, an obese lady of about 25 said to me, "If you can do it, I can do it!"

I would encourage all you seniors on Medicare to find a 24 hour fitness gym and start knocking your exercise work out up a notch.

If I can do it, you can do it!

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