• Frankie

    A member of our Health & Fitness Center, Frankie credits her workouts for helping her to overcome physical limitations and nurture both her body and soul. Watch Video
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  • Leona

    At 91, Leona works out at the YWCA 6 days a week. Her favorite class begins at 6 am and she never misses a day! Watch Video
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  • Lindsay

    As a member of the YWCA, Lindsay found a welcoming community and a support team that helped her to discover her inner athlete and achieve an incredible transformation. Watch Video
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  • Cornelia

    At 96, Cornelia works out in our Health and Fitness Center three times a week. She shows us all that anything is possible! Watch Video
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Cornelia

Proving Age is a Number, Not an Excuse

At age 92, Cornelia noticed her balance and stamina were quickly declining. She struggled to do simple things like opening jars and lifting small objects, and poor posture made it increasingly difficult for her to move around. Determined to make positive changes to improve her mobility and strength, Cornelia joined the YWCA’s SilverSneakers® Fitness Program.

Within a few weeks of starting the program and beginning a new diet, Cornelia’s energy increased and her balance and posture dramatically improved. “It was incredible how quickly my arms and legs got stronger. Moving my body on a regular basis has been so important in staying mobile,” she explained. Today, with new energy and a desire to maintain her healthy lifestyle, 98-year-old Cornelia is an inspiring role model, showing other members that age is a number, not an excuse!

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SilverSneakers® is a registered mark of Healthways, Inc. This national program came to the YWCA St. Paul in the fall of 2009. Today, more than 150 Health & Fitness Center members ages 65 and older participate.

“Moving my body on a regular basis has been so important in staying mobile.”

Jill

A Place to Heal

In early 2012, Jill slipped on a patch of ice and broke her wrist. With her injury, she became reluctant to spend time outdoors and started limiting activities she had long enjoyed. Months passed and the inactivity took its toll – Jill had gained weight and was still struggling with debilitating pain from her injury.

Determined to turn things around, she joined the YWCA St. Paul and began attending water fitness classes. While in the pool, she worked to get fit—and to rebuild strength in her injured wrist/hand. Today, Jill’s range-of-motion and dexterity have dramatically improved and she’s lost more than 30 pounds! “[The YWCA has been] a great place to have fun, meet new people and stay in shape,” she says. “I’m grateful for all the support.”

“[The YWCA] is the first time I’ve made exercise be a part of my day.”

Leona

Making Health a Priority

You’ll find Leona in the Health & Fitness Center six days a week. At 93 years old, many marvel at how active she is, but she just laughs and says, “You know, I don’t think of my age!”

Leona credits her workouts for keeping her going and for helping her to manage health issues. Her favorite class, Aqua Early Birds starts at 6 am and includes a mix of cardio and toning. “It’s work,” she explains. “But it’s fun work.”

On days she doesn’t attend an early morning class, Leona walks to the gym and squeezes in some strength training before her workout. Her dedication inspires many, among them her daughter Ruth, who now joins her mom for workouts three days a week. “She’s an inspiration,” Ruth says. “I haven’t picked up all her good habits yet, but I’ve got a few years to catch up.”

For others struggling with their fitness goals or wondering if it’s too late to get started, Leona offers some sage advice. “You’re never too old,” she says. “Just keep going.”

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“You’re never too old. Just keep going.”

Jack

Enjoying a Speedy Recovery

After enduring a difficult recovery following hip replacement surgery, Jack decided it was time to turn things around. He joined the YWCA’s SilverSneakers® Fitness Program, for adults 65 and older, to increase his flexibility and strength. Within a matter of weeks, Jack noticed great improvements. “SilverSneakers has been terrific for me. It’s improved my balance and coordination tremendously,” he said.

Eight months after joining SilverSneakers, Jack had replacement surgery on his other hip. This time, recovery was speedy and less strenuous on his body. “There’s no question my recovery after my second surgery was much smoother than the first because of SilverSneakers. Today, I feel better than I did four years ago,” he said.

SilverSneakers® is a registered mark of Healthways, Inc. This national program came to the YWCA St. Paul in the fall of 2009. Today, more than 150 Health & Fitness Center members ages 65 and older participate.

“Today, I feel better than I did four years ago.”

Lindsay

Transforming Mind and Body

Looking at a picture from her 25th wedding anniversary, Lindsay barely recognizes the woman smiling back. The photo reminds her of a time when she was always tired and struggled to do daily activities like walking up the stairs. “One of my officemates said when he first met me he thought I’d be dead soon because I was so overweight,” she says.

At 350 pounds, Lindsay knew she needed to make a change. She began working with a personal trainer doing three minutes of cardio each day and adding one minute to her routine each week. After building her stamina and entering her first races, Lindsay joined the YWCA, where she found a team of people who helped her to discover her inner-athlete and train for her first triathlon.

Since 2006, Lindsay has participated in more than 100 races—including 22 triathlons—and has lost more than 150 pounds! “It really transformed me,” she says, “because if I could do that, if I could lose that weight…what else can I do with my life?”

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“I’ve learned that fitness is a journey…you don’t stop.”

Linda

Moving Toward a Healthier Future

Living with high blood pressure for many years, Linda finally decided it was time to make a change. Determined to work toward her goal of losing 40 pounds, she knew she had a team of people at the YWCA who would help her along the way.

Participating in Zumba, Power Barz and yoga classes, Linda established a fun exercise routine that helped her to get in shape. She also joined a weight-loss study group at a local university, where she received additional support as she moved closer to her goals.

After ten months of hard work, Linda lost more than 40 pounds and lowered her blood pressure to a healthy level. Today, she’s amazed by how much easier it is to do the things she enjoys. “I feel like [the] Energizer Bunny,” she says.

Linda is proud of her transformation and knows that as she continues her journey to stay healthy, the YWCA will be there to provide her with both the resources and encouragement to keep going. “[The YWCA] has made a huge difference,” she says. “It’s a great place to be.”

“[YWCA] has made a huge difference.”

Carol

Conquering Fears

Ready to overcome a life-long fear of water, Carol became a member of the YWCA St. Paul Health & Fitness Center (HFC) and bravely enrolled in an aquatics class. “It’s taken a lot of courage to admit I’m afraid of the water, but the YWCA has provided a safe, friendly, nonjudgmental community for me to begin conquering my fear,” she said.

Only a few months into her class, Carol noticed exciting improvements. She was able to go nearly 5 feet deep, and, with assistance from a water noodle, no longer needed to hold onto the wall for support. Today, Carol is greatly enjoying her time in the water and looks forward to making even greater strides. Her next goal: getting her head under water.

Whether for safety reasons, to stay in shape, or for additional recreational options, Carol knows her hard work is opening a lot of doors. “I put this challenge out to myself, and I’m excited to see how far I can go from here.”

“The YWCA has provided a safe community for me to begin conquering my fear.”

Frankie

Strong in Water; Strong in Life

Frankie is a lap swimmer. It’s not always easy, but for 45 years the sidestroke has been her therapy. “I swim because it’s something that keeps me healthy,” she explains. “I swim, because as a result of spinal surgery, it’s something I both need and love to do.”

As a teen, Frankie was injured in a car accident. The trauma to her back resulted in severe scoliosis, and when she was 16 she had surgery to correct the curvature of her spine. Frankie learned to swim in her twenties and got started with the sidestroke on the advice of a physical therapist. “She told me I should be swimming on my right side to compensate for my curvature,” Frankie says. “So that’s what I’ve been doing all these years.”

Despite her good health and active lifestyle, over the past decade, Frankie battled crippling sciatic pain. When conservative treatments failed, the pain became unbearable and she was sidelined from swimming. “My life was out of balance without swimming,” she remembers. “I was worried that I’d never be able to get back to it.”

Another surgery brought relief, and after nearly a year away, Frankie returned to the pool. It took some work to regain her strength and stamina, but today Frankie is back to swimming at least three days a week. “It’s not magic,” she says. “You work and you see the results. If I can do it … anyone can.”

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“I swim, because as a result of spinal surgery, it’s something I both need and love to do.”

Laurel

Choosing a Healthier Path

“I’m here every day because every day I miss just makes it easier to skip another one,” explains Laurel — a member of the YWCA’s Health & Fitness Center (HFC). Laurel joined the HFC in the summer of 2009. She had just been diagnosed with diabetes and was determined to follow a healthier path. 

She knew changing her lifestyle wouldn’t be easy and chose to focus on changing her diet and making exercise a priority. One year later, the changes were remarkable. Her diabetes was well managed and she was also 80 pounds lighter.

What’s the secret to her success? A personal trainer. “Working with a personal trainer has kept me honest and accountable,” she explained. “It’s hard to blow off exercising if you know that you have made both a personal and financial commitment to another person.” But it’s not just about being accountable. Laurel notes that her trainer has been a source of both information and support as she has worked to meet her goals.

At the YWCA Laurel has found the support and friendship she needed as she tackled the hard work of changing her life and improving her health. She’s an inspiration for all of us who struggle to live healthy and be strong in both body and mind.

“Working with a personal trainer has kept me honest and accountable.”