retired several years ago, she decided that she was out of excuses. It was time
to make time to get fit and stay fit.
"I knew I needed to do
something. I felt like all my muscles were starting to atrophy. Now I feel like
I'm so much more toned. I'm not buff, but I'm toned. I can definitely feel the
She chose working out at her local YMCA gym as a way
to increase her activity level. At first she went for 45 minutes at a time and
did nothing but aerobics. Now she spends 2½ hours every weekday morning on a
variety of activities, including aerobics and fitness machines. Her workout has
become a routine part of her day.
Building that habit wasn't
easy. Kris had tried before to visit the gym every day. But she was working
then, and 5 a.m. seemed the only time she could fit it into her schedule. It
"That lasted about a year and a half," says Kris.
"And then I just kept making up excuses. I was only going a couple days a week,
and it was so hard to get up that early."
Years went by and
retirement loomed: "I knew that once I quit working, all the excuses were
Getting past her fear
Going to a gym and exercising in front of other people wasn't easy for
Kris in the beginning. "I was intimidated by the people," she says. But she
kept at it until she felt comfortable.
"Once I got a little bit
less intimidated with just being there, I would go try another machine. That
took me a long time. I bet I was there 6 or 7 months before I moved on to
another machine. I was really kind of intimidated, because the other women and
men looked so buff."
She stayed to herself at first. But the more
she went, the more familiar faces she saw. Other "regulars" began to strike up
conversations with her. Today, she enjoys the social side of her workouts as
much as the actual exercise.
"I just have fun meeting people. I
still meet people all the time."
Setting goals was—and still is—an important part of Kris's
physical activity plan.
She remembers getting on the stationary
bike in the beginning and feeling like her legs were going to fall off after
just a few minutes. "So I would just say, 'All right, I'll do 20 minutes this
week. And if I feel a little bit stronger next week, I'll do 25.'
would just try and increase it 5 minutes or so [at a time]. I still do that.
Last week I did 98 pounds on this one exercise machine and today I thought,
'I'm going to do 100.' I did, too! From 98 to 100 is only 2 pounds, but still
you feel like, well, that's an improvement. It may not be much more, but if you
look back to 6 months ago—Whoa! It's quite good! I started out at 70 pounds and
now I'm at 100!
"So every time you make that goal, you do a little
bit better or you stretch a little bit farther. It makes you feel pretty good