You’re never too old… |

You’re never too old…

Photo courtesy Ashley McDonald/Tahoe Forest HealthRuth Anderson, 89, demonstrates her prowess on the NU Step, which allows a step exercise while sitting.

By the grace of good genes and the game of golf, Ruth Anderson finds herself fit as a fiddle. At age 89.

Anderson and her husband (deceased) built in ’61, doing everything themselves, and moved to Truckee permanently in 1976. This was also the year Anderson took up golf. Her son worked at the Eisenhower Golf Course in Colorado, where she visited. “I haven’t improved much,” Anderson quips.

At the tender age of 84, Anderson decided to get her game on with Silver Steps, a fitness program tailored for seniors at Tahoe Forest Hospital. “I thought it would be good for my upper body ” help me get the ball a little farther,” said Anderson.

That was five years ago. Anderson said she’s seen a lot of improvement. “I feel so active.”

“We see changes in 10 to 60 percent of the areas we test,” said Carolyn Willette, R.N. and manager of Cardiac Rehabilitation and Chronic Disease Program with the Tahoe Forest Health System. “We test vital signs when we start, and they are actually improving, not just maintaining.”

According to national statistics, the individuals in the Silver Steps program are above average compared to their age group. They also garner confidence from the monitored environment. “Those girls are really good in there,” said Anderson, referring to the constant attention to blood pressure, pulse rate and corrective suggestions to perform the routines properly.

In Silver Steps, Anderson works the upper body, legs and gets her “mental going.” The program is more than just the fitness factor, however.

“It works because it’s a structured class and social as well,” said Willette. “It’s a fun group.”

“I could go to the gym ” and just nothing. At Silver Steps, we all know each other, and if there’s a newcomer, we make friends. If somebody goes missing, we’ll call. We’re all good buddies,” agrees Anderson. There is a good amount of teasing, as well.

“The program allows participants to do daily activities with less effort and more energy,” said Willette.

Everyday activities for Anderson include snow blowing her deck (about as big as her house) and shoveling in the winter, gardening and golf in the summer. “I planted peas on the vines the first time and just fed the squirrels,” she said. “Now I do lawn and flowers.”

Anderson credits her good health to strong genes and her upbringing in Minnesota. Her father was active until his death ” at 101. “We weren’t allowed to be couch potatoes,” she said. “We were ice skating in winter or on the tennis court in summer.”

She plans on getting out on the course as soon as it opens with the Tahoe Donner Nine Holers ” a group of 60 golfers. “I’m trying to get better, then I’ll go up to the other club. How lucky I am [to have my health].”

Cardiac health program tailored specifically for seniors

Tahoe Forest Hospital offers a year-round fitness program tailored for senior citizens called Silver Steps, a personalized fitness program. The program is designed to help senior men and women increase their physical stamina regardless their current fitness level. The program focuses on cardio-respiratory endurance, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, balance coordination and body composition. Beginners are welcome!

Classes meet each Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7:15, 8:30 or 9:30 a.m. Participants may join the program any time.

The cost is $150 for 36 classes (12 weeks), a complete fitness assessment and personalized exercise counseling. Call 582-3285.

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