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The Health Issue

Prime numbers

Good health and fitness can be lifelong pursuits, as they are for the active, passionate and dedicated Southern Californians who prove on the following pages that age is irrelevant

July 29, 2007|Nona Yates


Tyrus Wong


Occupation: Artist

Hometown: Sunland

Activity: Building and flying kites at the beach Starting line: I started about 20 or 30 years ago. I've done it all by trial and error. The swallow was my first kite. I've made owls, butterflies, goldfish, pandas. I have centipedes [pictured] and a caterpillar.

Making time: I retired after 30 years at Warner Bros. I always loved fishing; after a while my [late] wife said, 'Aren't you tired of fishing?' In fishing, you look down; in kite-flying, you look up.

Benefits: I enjoy meeting people, the fresh air, the exercise. Walking on the sand is exercise in itself. One time I was flying 25 kites by myself. You never saw a guy so busy in your life.

"No-whining" secrets: I'm a lazy kite flier; the wind does all the work.

Fitness mantra: I take everything as it comes . . . the good with the bad.



Esteban "Steve" Abenoza


Occupation: Semiretired graphic designer and photo restorer

Hometown: Santa Ana

Activity: Inline skater

Starting line: Since 1990. I was ready to lose weight and had to choose a kind of exercise, so I said, 'I used to skate when I was a kid, why not try again?'

Making time: I can arrange my schedule. I usually skate about 45 to 80 miles per week. During racing season I'll skate . . . over 100 miles per week. I've done more than 200 races. There's an excitement; everything you do is your own effort, your own power.

Benefits: I feel a lot younger. My life changed entirely when I quit smoking, lost weight, started exercising. I don't have any more problems with my heart. I used to be more pessimistic, I'm not anymore.

"No-whining" secrets: If I don't feel like I want to skate, I walk, even just for half an hour. If it seems a little boring, I listen to music.

Fitness mantra: Moving is the best medicine.



Rich Roll


Occupation: Entertainment lawyer, writer and filmmaker

Hometown: Calabasas

Activities: Swimming, triathlete

Starting line: I've been swimming on teams since I was about 6.

Making time: We have a lap pool at my house. Now that it's nice out, I try to go [ocean swimming] at least once a week. I generally swim at lunchtime. That's sort of sacred. Long rides and long runs on weekends. Running is a good complement to the swimming. We just had a baby, [so] I'm probably training about 12 hours a week. It's an extension of who I am and what I love.

Benefits: It helps me achieve focus in all the other areas of my life. It's as much a meditative experience as anything else. It gives me a clarity of thought. When you're swimming in the ocean, there's a purity you don't have in the pool.

"No-whining" secrets: If I'm getting stale in one endeavor I can switch to another. I also do yoga. It's an extension of a holistic lifestyle that includes diet and meditation.

Fitness mantra: I feel it's what I'm meant to do.



Leslie Williams


Occupation: Kindergarten teacher

Hometown: Ladera Ranch

Activities: Single-speed (one-gear) mountain biking, endurance races

Starting line: About five years ago.

Making time: I get creative with the day [and] try to keep a balance. I usually ride to or from work . . . about 35 miles away. I put in anywhere from 12 to 15 hours a week [commuting] and a big ride on the weekend. I've loved every minute of it. It's really fun for me; even if I didn't race, I'd still do it.

Benefits: I have 20 kindergartners all day by myself. That's pretty exhausting. I love [that] when I'm done with work, I have two to three hours to be by myself, just to think. When I'm home I'm fresh, ready to do other things.

"No-whining" secrets: Some days it's cold, I'm tired. If it's an extra-tiring weekend, I'll do a long, hard ride with my friends. We keep each other going. My husband also trains with me a little bit. During the week I love commuting, that's the only way I can get home. That really helps with the discipline.

Fitness mantra: It's about trying to figure out how to live life well. I can be a better teacher, I can be a better wife.



Sara Taylor


Occupation: High school student

Hometown: Huntington Beach

Activity: Surfing

Starting line: About six years ago. My uncle took me out. It was so fun, I just kept doing it.

Making time: I get to surf in the morning for PE. After school, I surf for fun. It's one of my priorities. In the winter it's a little different; right after school I go immediately to the beach and surf for a couple of hours. Sometimes it's dark if you go very early in the morning.

Benefits: If I'm stressed out at school, it takes my mind off that. Surfing is a good workout. A couple of weeks before a contest, I'll do a little training, like jogging. My coach has me riding a bike on the wet sand. It's really hard; if you can do that it means your legs are in shape.

"No-whining" secrets: I like to sleep a lot, [but] I have to get to class. So I drag myself out of bed. I know I'll be happy about it later. Once I'm out there, I'm so glad.

Fitness mantra: I wouldn't stop if someone gave me a million dollars right now.


Read about Sarah Sneider, a 62-year-old power lifter and rope climber, at

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