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    Posted February 6, 2014 by
    Houston, Texas

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    Retirement Creates Time for New Beginnings, Lifestyles and Goals

    For seniors in retirement, life presents the opportunity to explore newfangled interests, set fresh goals and create a new lifestyle, especially for someone who spent much of his life overseas. 79-year-old Paul Smith, a resident of Parkway Place, lived in Iraq raising a family and performing missionary work there for many years. During this period, he did not have much time to spend at the gym, although he stayed physically active in other ways. In the 12 years that he has been retired, he has picked up an active lifestyle, but has faced physical challenges and is working toward overcoming them to remain active as he ages. With support from fellow neighbors, his wife and encouragement from the Parkway Place staff, Smith is still going strong and is now working on developing healthy eating habits in conjunction with his workout routine.

    “My wife, Virginia Smith, and I began our retirement in Waco, TX and then moved to Parkway Place in Houston,” shared Smith. “While in Waco, we developed a love for bike riding and spent many days riding through parks and around town. One day, I was attacked by an irate dog and his attack caused me to lose control of the bike and crash. My shoulder blade broke and my head split open. When we moved to Parkway Place, we brought the bikes with us, but I have not been able to get back on. So I decided I would develop a daily gym routine in place of the bike rides. A few years later, I had to have knee surgery for a blown knee. I am still recovering from the surgery, but have picked up my workout routine again.”

    Smith works out at 6:30 a.m. five days a week, for 40 minutes a day, rotating among the bicycle, a row machine, a chest press machine, a leg curl and leg extension machine, a vertical traction machine, a low back extension machine, an abdominal crunch machine and free weights. Prior to his knee surgery, he would take the stairs when leaving his residence to increase his heart rate and physical activity. He hopes to pick that habit back up after a little more time has passed. He said it is one of his goals for 2014. Additionally, he hopes to lose ten pounds and maintain a healthy diet.

    “I worked out with a physical therapist as much as I could before my knee surgery and was able to get up and walk around the day after the surgery,” expressed Smith. “I used a walking aid for a week and then I was independent again. It is amazing how quickly I recovered. I continued to work with my physical therapist after the surgery and the results have been tremendous. I was able to go deer hunting this season and I feel like I am almost back to normal. Staying active has been and will continue to be an important factor in my life. Despite these challenges, I have overcome them and worked in new ways to stay healthy in my retirement.”

    Smith says it helps when you have a partner or a group of people that work out with you and encourage you to keep with it. He and his wife work out at the same time every morning, although Virginia favors swimming in the indoor pool. There are other residents that work out at the same time they do, and he said they all keep each other accountable and will usually catch up over breakfast after their morning routines.

    “Virginia kicks me out of bed and says to get to it and I tell her that she better be coming down to the gym with me,” laughed Smith. “We are a team, we share a lot of the same interests and we work to be of an encouragement to each other. We are having a blast exploring new interests, meeting people and setting goals for healthy lifestyles in our retirement.”

    “Rachel McKee, the wellness coordinator at Parkway Place, works with the residents by leading daily exercise classes, encouraging them to stay active and providing unique opportunities for physical activity outside of the fitness classes,” said Jimmy Johnson, executive director of Parkway Place. “Currently, she is working on getting a certification to lead Zumba classes at the community. Many of the residents value an active lifestyle and have been able to spend more time and energy on making sure they are taking care of their health in their retirement.”
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