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ORANGE : Doctor Suggests Exercise to Ease Aging

March 06, 1995|LESLEY WRIGHT

About 250 senior citizens at a wellness program were told to face the fact that the pills and potions designed to make aging easier do not do as good a job as a solid exercise regimen.

John Cowles, a physician with Garden Grove Hospital and Medical Center, praised aspirin, estrogen and face cream as ways to soothe the body and spirit, but noted that "when we come down to exercise, we really hit the big one."

Cowles joined officials with SecureHorizons, an HMO for seniors, in giving encouragement, health screenings and exercise demonstrations last week at the Doubletree Hotel to mark the opening of two new SeniorFit centers in Garden Grove and Anaheim. The SeniorFit centers offer free exercise programs to members of the HMO.

Fitness instructors led the participants in a simple program that all could do from their chairs. Behind her, a team of seniors, who are the program's success stories, worked out on the stage. Later, they discussed how they went from flabby to fit.

Chuck Price, 71, joined in the demonstration. He has been with the program for two years and he boasted that he can exercise every muscle in his body, despite bad knees and shoulders. "You would be amazed, every muscle gets moved," he said.

Jewett Pattee, 71, of Long Beach talked about bicycling from Irvine to Savannah, Ga., last year. At 50, he recalled, he couldn't see his feet for his stomach. Then he had to give up drinking and smoking. "I was an old man at 50," he said. "I'm not anymore."

The audience appeared to be suitably impressed with the demonstrations, but at least one admitted she would have to get over a big roadblock to good health: procrastination.

"But I think it's a good idea, especially for older people like myself," said Virginia Meyer, 70, of Santa Ana. "I know if we get these old arthritic joints moving, we can get them to do things."

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