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by Carole Carson, AARP, September 18, 2008
Do you remember the theme song from the television show "Rawhide"? A line from that song would be an appropriate title for Chester "Chet" Shroyer's approach to his joints and bones: "Keep movin', movin' movin'."
In his 80s, Chet, now 86, was diagnosed with arthritis in his right hip. Rather than submit to surgery and the expense and discomfort of a recovery period, the Grass Valley, Calif., resident decided to manage his condition through exercise.
Chet's regimen is based on consistency. Three to five days a week, he works out at a physical therapy facility under the watchful eye of physical therapists, who make sure he exercises correctly and safely. His 45-minute workout includes strength training, stretching, and riding a recumbent bike. Other days, he goes through an exercise routine at home.
Chet gets support from his wife. She walks 30 minutes each day, and the two of them eat small portions of low-fat, low-calorie food. They know that packing on pounds would strain their bones and joints.
Chet spent his early career in the Navy, where physical fitness was a requirement and measured annually. After leaving the Navy, he served as a veterans' services officer, counseling other veterans and their families.
Chet appreciates having access to a low-cost gym where he can work out at his convenience and where he can be carefully supervised. Beyond that, he looks forward to seeing his friends.
His advice: "Don't use age as an excuse to sit. Exercise is even more important as you get older. Find a buddy and exercise. If you're like me, you'll feel better, have more energy, and enjoy life a whole lot more."
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