January 30, 2013 - It's not too hard to stay in shape during summer, with bike rides, swimming, and other outdoor activities in the warm sun.
Carlotta Pawley, with her trainer Mary LoVasco, works with some weights. (click for larger version)
Winter is the real test, said Clarkston-area residents Denny and Carlotta Pawley.
"In winter, people take the time to slack off because it's dark and dreary outside," Carlotta said. "You just want to sit there. In summer, the sun is up before you are."
The treadmill is boring, especially in comparison with an evening walk by the lake with the grandkids.
"It's tough to get going," Carlotta said. "You just tell yourself you have to if you want to stay where you are."
"If I get the urge to take the day off, my conscious kicks in, which helps force me to do it," Denny said.
Denny, 71, and his wife Carlotta, 65, committed to their workout schedule in 1996. At the time, Carlotta had recently lost 40 pounds with Weight Watchers
"I was overweight my entire life," she said. "I wanted to keep it off."
She found a trainer, Mary LoVasco of LoVasco Fitness and Nutrition in Independence Township, and she has worked with her twice a week for the past 17 years.
"It's not to build muscle – at this point, at this age, it's to keep healthy," Carlotta said.
Denny joined in, though at the time he was working 12 hour days as an executive with Chrysler.
"You have to carve out part of the day, an hour just for yourself," he said.
A smoker since her 20s, Carlotta quit cigarettes in 2005, with the help of nicotine patches.
"I decided it was time," she said. "I'd go for a walk and light up a cigarette – it defeats the purpose. I decided if I want to be around for the grandchildren, I needed to quit."
Denny was on blood pressure medicine for several years when he joined his wife in regular training. He got off the medicine in 2000.
"We don't take any prescription drugs, just vitamins," Carlotta said.
Twice-a-week sessions include resistance training with weights and machines, and cardiovascular exercise on the treadmill. They also keep track of their diet, blood pressure, cholesterol level, body mass index, and other internal indicators.
"It's a whole body routine," LoVasco said. "They're very committed and consistent – Carlotta has been with me the longest."
Denny is retired but still works as a manufacturing consultant, and hunts and fishes with his children and grandchildren every year. Carlotta spends lots of time up north with the grandkids, and likes to read, play cards, and work on puzzles.
"The older you get, the less you're able to do, but with exercise, you can help your body stay healthier than it was yesterday," Denny said.
Phil is editor for The Clarkston News. He is a veteran of the first Iraq war, having served in the U.S. Army.