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A Lifetime of Fitness: Seniors Discuss Their Personal Regimens 

  • Olive Macgregor of Lebanon grabs a pool noodle along with other participants during a water aerobics class at the CCBA   in Lebanon. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap)

    Olive Macgregor of Lebanon grabs a pool noodle along with other participants during a water aerobics class at the CCBA in Lebanon. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Stephen Berger concentrates on lifting free weights as part of his training regimen at KDR fitness in Lebanon. Spotting him is KDR Fitness coach Mike St. Laurence. <br/>(Valley News - Sarah Priestap)

    Stephen Berger concentrates on lifting free weights as part of his training regimen at KDR fitness in Lebanon. Spotting him is KDR Fitness coach Mike St. Laurence.
    (Valley News - Sarah Priestap) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Yoga instructor Helen Dicke of Hartland leads a class in a side stretch at the Hartland Yoga Center. (<br/>Valley News - Sarah Priestap)

    Yoga instructor Helen Dicke of Hartland leads a class in a side stretch at the Hartland Yoga Center. (
    Valley News - Sarah Priestap) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Marjorie Vail, of Barnard, serves during a tennis session at the Woodstock Fitness and Racquet Club. At right is Phyllis Bulmer, of Bridgewater. (<br/>Valley News - Sarah Priestap)

    Marjorie Vail, of Barnard, serves during a tennis session at the Woodstock Fitness and Racquet Club. At right is Phyllis Bulmer, of Bridgewater. (
    Valley News - Sarah Priestap) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Olive Macgregor of Lebanon grabs a pool noodle along with other participants during a water aerobics class at the CCBA   in Lebanon. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap)
  • Stephen Berger concentrates on lifting free weights as part of his training regimen at KDR fitness in Lebanon. Spotting him is KDR Fitness coach Mike St. Laurence. <br/>(Valley News - Sarah Priestap)
  • Yoga instructor Helen Dicke of Hartland leads a class in a side stretch at the Hartland Yoga Center. (<br/>Valley News - Sarah Priestap)
  • Marjorie Vail, of Barnard, serves during a tennis session at the Woodstock Fitness and Racquet Club. At right is Phyllis Bulmer, of Bridgewater. (<br/>Valley News - Sarah Priestap)

Seniors weigh in on the reasons for — and benefits of — their personal regimens

Olive Macgregor, 70, of Lebanon: “I would say I’ve been attending Aquafit classes at the CCBA for at least 15 years. I really like it. I try to do that class three times a week and sometimes I go to pilates, so I say I average one or the other about four times a week. I love the water, and the people in (The Aquafit) class have turned into great friends. We’ve gone to funerals for each other’s husbands, we’ve gone to birthday parties — it’s a friendly group. The class is just part of my life, and I would think that if I ever moved away, I would really miss that.”

Stephen Berger, 66, of Quechee: “I’ve been involved in fitness my whole life. I’ve been in many gyms in many states. I was a former half-marathon runner, a weight trainer and a swimmer. I injured myself a couple of years ago the way most athletes injure themselves — I was walking my dog and I slipped on a rock and twisted my ankle. After icing my ankle and taking Advil, the injury kept getting worse. Once I started a regimen of resistance and weight training at KDR fitness, one year later, I don’t have a limp. I’m doing advanced intelligent weight training — not for big biceps, but for functional muscles and balance and for the strong aerobic part of my program. I feel now as close to the best shape I’ve ever been in my life, and I’m over 60.”

Helen Dicke, 70, of Hartland: “I teach six yoga classes a week at the Hartland Yoga Center. I’m probably as retired as I’m ever going to be right now. I’m not a very retiring type person. Apart from teaching yoga, I go hiking with my friend Pierre several times a week. Last January, it was discovered that I had ovarian cancer. I had surgery on Jan. 30 and have been having chemotherapy off and on from mid-February until June 15. I believe that the self-awareness I have gained from yoga helped accelerate my recovery from cancer.
I think that one of the biggest things with cancer is that the mind just goes nuts. My mind didn’t go nuts, it went nuts for about a split second, and my larger self said, you don’t need to do this, it’s just your mind. From yoga I learned to quiet my mind and just calm down. The result was that I just sailed through it. It’s amazing. And I’m feeling great now. I’ve been more active recently. I feel positive and I love doing things and I can hike up a hill like the best of them.”

Marjorie Vail, 87, of Barnard: “It’s hard to tell how long I’ve been playing tennis. I’ve been playing since I was in high school but not competing or anything. My husband and I joined the Woodstock Country Club when this building and the new tennis courts were built and I’ve played ever since then. I play twice a week in the summer, and once a week in the winter. This is my last day playing tennis. I’m 87 years old, and I think it’s time. It’s not that I can’t play, but it’s a little too much for me and it’s hard to get here in the winter. What’s kept me coming back all these years? It’s such a fun game and I love tennis, and I hate awfully to not play, but stopping is just something I feel I need to do. I’ll still be active after I stop playing tennis. I walk, and I have a woodstove and that keeps me busy every morning.”

Photographs and interviews by Sarah Priestap