A good fit

By The Active Age | May 1, 2020

Courtesy photo Pickleball is one way Renai Harrison, second from left in front, stays fit. Here she’s shown with fellow players at the YMCA. For more ideas on staying active.

You walk, bike, stretch, garden. 

Lift weights, swim, do yoga and water aerobics.

Team up with neighbors, friends and spouses. Turn for help to physical trainers and therapists.

Age is no barrier, and you’re not letting the coronavirus slow you down, except for maybe those trips to the gym.

Readers of the active age shared the many ways they keep fit and feeling good in their responses to a survey in last month’s issue. The common denominator is that physical activity is a regular part of their lives and one they thoroughly enjoy.

Turn to page 24 to find some of the responses we received. If you’re looking to become active again, or just to change up your routine, these ideas are a great place to start.

Jane B.

Activity: Walking more than an hour with a partner at least once a week, and most evenings walking 20 minutes around my neighborhood. Stretching and strengthening exercises three to four times a week, plus gardening, yardwork and housework.

Benefit: Stronger knees, much better sleep, fresh air, sunlight on skin (which generates Vitamin D) and an improved attitude, especially after gazing at flowers in my neighborhood this spring.

George G.

Activity: My favorite exercise is walking and gardening. I walk every day unless it’s raining or icy all day.

I garden every day March through October.

Benefit: Many physical and mental health benefits from both. Also get to know neighbors and share good healthy food.

Theresa B.

Activity: Walking, bicycling, gardening, mowing our acreage. Almost every day for the first two. The last two, seasonal.

Benefit: Affects my mood being outside and around nature. Helps keep muscles stretched so I am more mobile. I can get good Vitamin D thru the sunshine. Makes me thirstier, so I drink more water.

Shelley B.

Activity: I exercise at least 30 minutes daily. Before the coronavirus, I would either walk or on at least two days of the week go to the YMCA and use its track and then their weight machines. Right now, I am walking in the neighborhood or on my treadmill.

Benefit: Physical fitness, which includes cardio benefits and muscle strength. This also helps with burning calories! And all this adds to better overall physical and mental health.


Activity: I have several favorites. Walking three days a week, 30-45 minutes per outing. Gardening 30 minutes per day. Physical therapy every day for 45 minutes. Strengthening exercises every other day for 30 minutes.

Benefits: A sense of well-being. Strengthening. Pain relief. Aerobic activity and companionship with my wife. We enjoy parks, wildlife and the time to communicate!

Shirley F.

Activity: In 1986 I started walking a mile daily, working up to five miles daily, which I continued through 2010. In 2010, I started doing pool aerobics at Genesis three days a week for two hours each day. In 2013, I started working out with a personal trainer with weights and machines. I go five or six times a week. I work out on my own for a while then pay for a trainer again for a few weeks. Since the gym is closed, I am back to walking an hour five days a week.

Benefits: Clearly, I feel waaay better, can bend and do my day-to-day projects with more flexibility. I got off my mealtime insulin and cut my night time insulin. Got rid of acid reflux which I was plagued with for years. I lost 80 pounds. Looking forward to my 80’s with optimism.

David K.

Activity: Calisthenics 10 minutes, weight lifting 10 minutes, elliptical machine 8 minutes and jogging one mile. Daily. One additional exercise is playing baseball each spring at the Boston Red Sox and Kansas City Royals fantasy camps one week before spring training begins.

Benefits: Coordination, strengthening, cardiovascular and respiratory fitness, longevity, mental astuteness and pleasure.

Jan T.

Activity: My favorite ways to exercise are yoga (I’m a yoga instructor for the El Dorado YMCA, Butler Community College in El Dorado, and have a home studio), t’ai chi and Pilates. But my all-time fav is running or walking. In spring, gardening is an enjoyable pastime for me.

I do a variety of the above activities every day. Since I’ve gotten older (72 years young), I distance run every other day – at least five to 11 miles in length.

Benefits: The benefits are mental, physical and emotional stability. I love to exercise. It’s not something I have to force myself to do.

Beve S.

Activity: Mowing yard once a week, water aerobics three times a week, biking once or twice a week, walking five times a week, granny basketball once a week. 

Benefit: Since I am 83, all these keep my body healthy and mind active. Mowing gives me pride in a job well done and a nice-looking yard. Biking develops leg muscle and helps balance. Walking keeps the dog happy. Water aerobics is easier on the joints than land exercise and granny basketball brings friends, laughter and joy to my life.

Dixie L.

Activity: My favorite way to exercise is walking, at least three times a week or almost every day in the summer.

Benefit: Keeping in shape, losing weight, and seeing my friends also walking.

Ruth W.

Activity: I stay physically active using DVDs that I found available at the PBS gift shop. The best for my age are Stretch Yoga or Classical Stretch, which I use five days a week. On Saturday I do Strength and Balance yoga.
       Benefit: I use these to improve my flexibility, mobility, vitality and increase strength, diminish pain and burn calories.

Renai H.

Activity: Daily walks in the neighborhood, yoga or group exercise classes at the YMCA three times a week.

Benefit: I feel better not only physically but emotionally.  These activities relieve stress and give me an opportunity to connect with others.

Michele A.

Activity: Favorite exercise is swimming, three to four times a week. Works most muscles, non-weight bearing for those with arthritis.
      Benefit: An overall feeling of being refreshed and rejuvenated. As an aerobic exercise it helps my heart and lungs. If I ever have muscles soreness, swimming is always my choice as it seems to alleviate that discomfort. Also the water is beautiful, shimmering, clear, and when you think of all those little H2O molecules hanging together to make this wonderful substance…well, it’s just amazing.

Kathy O.

Activity: Water classes at the YMCA four to five days a week. Now that the Y’s are closed, doing workouts with videos from YouTube six days a week.

Benefit: Have lost 80 pounds. Less overall body pain, breathe easier, walk farther.

Nancy B.

Activity: My favorite way to exercise is to take yoga classes and walk outside. Since the YMCA is closed, I usually walk outside for about 45 minutes, five to six days a week.
Benefit: This is good cardio exercise because I walk at a brisk pace, it’s easier on my back than some exercises, and it’s a good chance to visit with my sister since we walk together. And it’s a good way to burn some calories.


Activity: Walking three days a week, 30-45 minutes per outing. Gardening and lawn care is seasonal, but it is a workout!

Benefit: A sense of well-being, improved bone density health, aerobic activity and companionship with my husband.

Gretchen F.

Activity: Biking, hiking, walking and yoga stretching, four to six times a week. With the extra time I currently have, it will typically be six days per week.

Benefit: I feel better, am more toned, flexible and fit than most my age (61). And it’s a stress reliever!

Vivian R.

Activity: I’m 92 years old. I climb the stairs, which have 14 steps, several times during the day. Lift weights, use a band for stretching my legs and arms, ride a stationary bike. Do other exercises recommended after I had my hip replacement. I’ve always been an exercise person and do some of it, if not all, every day.

Benefit: My legs and arms are stronger. Hopefully it is helping my heart, maybe it gives me more energy. I have pretty good balance.

Catherine E.

Activity: Walking: my dog, down my county road, with my neighbor, with my husband, the Sandcreek Trail in North Newton. Two to three times daily, before breakfast and after dinner at a minimum.

Benefit: Good time to socialize, see what’s growing and changes in my neighborhood, pick up trash, keep weight and blood sugar level steady, bones strong and heart healthy.