In sickness and in health: A vow to pursue fitness |

In sickness and in health: A vow to pursue fitness

Early in life, Gayle noticed she felt as if she had accomplished something when she exercised daily. As a working mother, maintaining an exercise schedule wasn’t easy, but she was consistent.

At 48, she married Fred Lossman who, as an avid runner, introduced Gayle to the sport. She loved running and began competing in races with runners of all ages and skill levels.

Since then, Gayle has competed in more than 100 races in the U.S. and in France. She’s been awarded more than 50 medals for her age group. To celebrate turning 55, she ran her first 26.2 mile marathon in Portland, followed by marathons in Honolulu, Sacramento, and Los Angeles.

After running for eight years, Gayle decided to make a life change. At 56, she left her career in insurance and became a Certified Fitness Trainer. Two years later, Gayle was honored by being chosen to carry the Olympic Torch representing Nevada County.

A year ago, Gayle was diagnosed with a tumor on her kidney. Recovery from surgery in February was complicated by a setback due to appendicitis. During the second procedure, further serious complications occurred. She stopped breathing and was placed on life support.

After several harrowing hours, Gayle survived. But now she realized the anticipated eight-to-10 week recovery period would take months.

Gayle took baby steps to regain her strength. With almost no strength, she began with one-minute walks. Slowly she increased her stamina. She prayed for healing and taped a note on her bathroom mirror: “You have a job. And your job is to get well.” Her goal: to return to the South Yuba Club and her exercise class with seniors.

A year later, the South Yuba Club and Gayle have been selected to lead Nevada County’s Silver Sneakers program (see “Come Out and Play”), the nation’s leading fitness program for older adults.

Like Gayle, the seniors in her class have experienced much in life ” they are survivors of cancer, heart attacks, joint replacements, Parkinson’s and other diseases. They’re enjoying their lives by getting fit, having fun and making friends. They inspire Gayle to keep going, just as she now inspires all of us to get up, move and rejoice in the bodies we’ve been given.

Gayle’s experience and zest for living give testimony to Lance Armstrong’s philosophy “Live strong.”

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