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Pumping Iron to Stay Young?

This grandmother says it can help. And experts back her up.


I alternate lower-body and upper-body weight machines, plus the ab machine for sit-ups to tame that ever-present midriff bulge. I also alternate the machines with free weights. I do 30 reps (that's weight-speak for "repetitions") with 8-pound free weights in each hand. Then I exchange those 8-pounders for 5-pounders to do side lifts.

Don't be intimidated by the machines. Most include a sticker with illustrations and instructions, or you can always ask your gym's trainer what's what.

Other Perks

After every workout I give myself a reward -- a piece of hard candy -- before driving home. The piece of candy means that I get an "A" in working out for the day. I deserve it.

The biggest incentive to keep going, however, is the personal feedback I get from working out. Regular visits to that fountain of youth called the gym keep stiffness at bay, restore my wobbly balance, and help stave off extra pounds. I'm just under 5 feet 2 inches tall, and I weigh in at 116 -- just 4 pounds above my college weight.

When I'm away from the gym, I really feel the difference. Getting out of a chair takes longer. Clothes grab me around the middle. I have to lean against a doorjamb to put on pants. Fortunately, I don't let anything keep me away for long.

My doctors look at my charts and can't believe my age. (Forget it, I'm still not telling you.) When my internist tells me, "You don't have the blood pressure or enough cholesterol to be a great-grandmother," I can't wait to get back to the gym, grab a couple of weights, and give it my all.

Oh yes, there is something else -- or I should say someone else -- who keeps me faithful to my workout routine. I plan to be up for a game of catch with Edward Charles Foley III, my brand new great-grandson, just as soon as he knows the difference between a bottle and a baseball.

Kit Snedaker is a Los Angeles freelance writer who cut gym in school because she hated the green uniforms. She's been making up for it ever since.


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