A few years ago I retired from a very active management position and suddenly found myself spending most of my time at home. I sat at the computer, read my email, played ten different kinds of solitaire, read food recipes which made me hungry and I ate a lot. I read, I watched TV and did all the crossword puzzles I could get my hands on. Not only was I bored; I had become boring. I was terribly depressed and was given Paxil, a mood altering drug. I hated the way it made me feel so I stopped taking it.

A lifesaving friend called one day and said “Let’s visit the senior community center and see what classes they offer.” My response was, “Hang out with old people, are you nuts?” You have to realize what a ridiculous response this was since I was in my 70’s. I did remember receiving some mail recently from my HMO. They had a program called “Fit for Life” that would pay for any kind of exercise class so I gave in and visited the center.

It turned out that most of the seniors were younger than I. The age was 50+ and everyone seemed lively, friendly and in great shape. They had low impact aerobic classes at low-cost; it included light weight training and a cool down with lots of stretching. I must admit I had a wonderful time. They talked me into joining the line dance class too. I had forgotten how much I loved to dance; there’s something about moving to music that makes you feel so good. The best part is you don’t need a partner!

Here comes the moral to this story. I had a doctor’s appointment about 6 weeks later. I stepped on the scale and had lost quite a few pounds. He took my blood pressure which was now normal. My cholesterol dropped below 200, triglycerides dropped 70 points and best of all he noticed the difference in my demeanor. He sat back in his chair, looked at me with a big smile and said, “What’s going on?” My chart now says ‘exercising 3 times a week’.

It’s three years later, I’m 75 years old, still taking exercise classes twice a week and teaching line dancing to all age groups (not just seniors) three times a week. I get so motivated because there’s so much energy out there. I need the group setting; I know I would never exercise on my own

My doctor laughs when I tell him I want to form a task force to pull people out of their beds and bring them to these centers. So please, don’t give up. Do it for your depression, your boredom, your anxiety and your whole sense of being. It’s invigorating!

Author's Bio: 

Helen Robinson is a dance instructor for the Parks & Recreation Dept. Visit her site at http://www.healthy-cooking.ideatreasury.com for food tips, recipes and to claim your free copy of the special report “Aging Gracefully with the Aid of Various Nutrients"