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Too Old to Exercise? Think Again!

Thursday, Jan 30, 2014

Can you ever be "too old" to start exercising? Hank Schmid sure didn't think so, and he's been feeling the benefits ever since he started working out in Doylestown Hospital's Cardiac Rehab

Just a few years ago, when Henry "Hank" Schmid's daughter took him to a Phillies game, she always dropped him off in front of Citizens Bank Park. She'd park the car, then find her father a seat where he could sit all day, since he was so out of shape.

These days, Hank is "in his glory" at baseball games. "We park far away and he walks around the park," says Donna Beyrer.

"My whole attitude in life has changed," says Hank.

At 90, he credits exercise with strengthening his body and lifting his spirits.

"I figure if I didn't come here I'd be in a wheelchair," Hank says.

Hank started working out at the gym four years ago. Back then he easily became out of breath. He could walk on the treadmill only for a few seconds. His primary doctor recommended Hank try Doylestown Hospital's supervised cardiac rehab program at the Cornerstone Club in the Health & Wellness Center in Warrington.

The well-trained staff of exercise physiologists works with people of all ages and health conditions. There is a dedicated group of seniors in their 80s and early 90s who work out there regularly.

"You're never too old to exercise," says David Woods, lead exercise physiologist for the Doylestown Hospital program.

Under close supervision, Hank slowly increased the intensity and amount of his exercise. He now works out 5 or 6 days a week, showing up at 7 am, using a variety of exercise machines as well as lifting weights.

"It's my biggest motivator in life," says Hank, who has lost nearly 30 pounds and 4 inches around his waist.

"It's just turned his life around," says Donna. "And he enjoys it." Hank even got her to start exercising regularly. The pair works out together every Saturday morning before going out to breakfast. It's become a tradition.

Hank says he no longer feels depressed like he did when he wasn't physically fit. "The people here are very sociable, loveable," he says. "I've met a lot of new friends."

"We focus on a well-balanced quality of life, which includes the emotional and mental aspects," David says. "The seniors really enjoy the socialization." David calls Hank an "inspiration" for the other clients. "He works hard and his positive attitude has helped him," adds David. "He's seen the benefits."

"I'm a firm believer in preventative medicine," Hank says. "And exercise is one of the best things a person can do."

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