An Exercise Story

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Name: Marian
Age: 77
Location: Maryland
Activity: Walking

I'm an active 77-year-old, but a family history of heart disease and high cholesterol convinced me that I needed more exercise. After I walked the treadmill at a community center, I knew I'd be happier outside. I bought a pedometer, planned two-mile routes through my neighborhood, and started a half-hour routine. Since then I've seen yellow forsythias bloom in spring and red dogwood leaves drop in autumn, heard the first insistent buzz of periodic cicadas and the bright song of Carolina wrens, watched a sunflower grow from a seedling to a seven-foot giant, and learned that I can walk in 30-degree weather. As I go down the street I discover whose house is being painted and whose dinner smells wonderful. Sometimes I stop to chat with people, and sometimes I'm lost in thoughts of dear ones no longer here. But I always come home energized, refreshed, and happy to go on with the rest of the day.

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Last reviewed: December 2004