Boosting energy, releasing stress, maintaining an image, following doctors' orders.
Those are among the reasons prominent Orange County residents give for exercising. Whatever the motivation and regimen, however, one fact is certain: Exercise is an integral part of life in fitness-crazed Orange County.
Harriett M. Wieder, 70, Orange County supervisor
"In the morning while I run my bath, I ride a (stationary) bicycle and walk the treadmill. It's boring, but I watch the news while I exercise. And that can help. Like if I'm watching 'The McLaughlin Group' and I get upset with what they say--it makes me walk faster."
Brad Gates, 50, Orange County sheriff-coroner
"I was born and raised in San Juan Capistrano, and the first half of my life was spent on the back of a horse. I still ride an average of once a week, generally a trail ride that lasts a couple of hours. We have several horses at our place in San Juan Capistrano (the Ortega Equestrian Center, owned by Gates' wife, Deedee) . . . I also play tennis frequently, and I like just about all sports. Exercise is an important part of keeping mentally and physically in tune. It keeps you out of the hospital and feeling well. It helps you think clearer and do better work. We take those things very seriously in my family."
T. Jefferson Parker, 35, author of "Laguna Heat" and "Little Saigon"
"I go to the gym probably four times a week and lift weights, ride the bicycle. I work out for an hour each time, and I always feel real good when I leave the gym. The nice thing about weights, it's a really concentrated, economical way to get exercise and it's also mindless: I can think about something else when I'm doing it. . . . Usually I'm thinking about the book I'm working on. I've gotten interesting insights and ideas about what's going to happen in my stories in that kind of reckless state of mind you get in when your body's working hard."
Stacey Q, 30, rock singer
"My exercise is part of my work. When I'm rehearsing a band, we work for six to seven hours a day, three or four times a week, and I'll be dancing the whole time. I don't just go out there and swing myself about--I have to warm up, stretch my muscles, start slow. It takes an incredible amount of energy."
Ignacio Lozano Jr., 62, editor-in-chief, La Opinion
"I play golf at least once a week, and I enjoy walking the course rather than riding in the electric cart. I've been playing golf since I was in high school, and I love the game. I find now that it's a distraction from the stresses and strains of everyday routine. I think it freshens my mind to be outside getting some exercise rather than sitting at a desk all day long--all day, every day. Golf is a great way to get outside and enjoy some fresh air and good company."
Janet Evans, 17, Olympic gold medal swimmer
"I get up every morning at 4:30 and swim from 5:15 to 7. Then I go to school from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., and swim again from 3 to 6 in the afternoon. Swimming is something I've always liked to do, and I decided I wanted to really put my mind to it and do it well. When the alarm goes off in the morning, I don't want to get up, but I tell myself that I want to 'cause I want to reach my goals. My goals are just to do the best I can. And to go faster."