Seniors discover better living through exercise |

Seniors discover better living through exercise

Leaving walkers and canes out in the hall, about 20 seniors recently filed into a small room in Eskaton, workout weights in hand.

Ranging in age from 78 to 102, they gather three times a week under the guidance of Gayle Lossman for an hour of exercise.

“Thirteen months ago, I fell and hit my head, and I was diagnosed with three mild strokes,” said John Sobolik, 90. “I signed up for this class and have improved from wheelchair to walker to a cane, and now I don’t use a cane. Now I’m using the stairs.

“Gayle has done me a world of good,” Sobolik added.

The seniors are residents of the planned community off Ridge Road between Grass Valley and Nevada City.

It doesn’t matter whether the seniors can only move their arms while sitting in chairs or keep up with the full range of motions; Lossman has seen incredible improvements over the years in her classes at Eskaton and at the South Yuba Club in Nevada City, where she teaches a similar Silver Sneakers class.

“The exercise is wonderful, and the more you do, the more you can do,” said Carolyn Harvey, 82.

But while Lossman said she came to help the seniors stay in shape and stay mobile, she’s received just as much from them.

“I’ve really been enlightened and inspired,” Lossman said. “When I started, there were six to eight walkers and three to four canes in the class. Now the walkers are left outside and the canes are up on the counter. They don’t use them as much any more.”

The class includes senior residents who have exercised all their lives – such as Florence Westerland, 102 – who rides her exercise bike twice a day for 15 minutes. It also embraces those who weren’t as active but saw what the class was doing for others.

Lossman hopes these seniors, who have had to overcome heart attacks, strokes and other adversity to regain their fitness, inspire their younger relations in a nation where fitness has steadily declined, she said.

Eskaton also has an aquatics class, provides pedometers, stop watches and water bottles for its senior residents in an effort to keep them healthy and active, Lossman said.

Her class meets Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 2 p.m.

To contact Staff Writer Greyson Howard, e-mail or call (530) 477-4237.

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