There's a lot of newfangled doodads and exercise regimens out there, but when it comes down to it, says longtime Ashland trainer Carol Lee Rogers, there's no substitute for "just doin' it" — that is, doing it regularly, doing it with a broad-band approach, using stretching, resistance and cardio and doing it enough that you become "positively addicted."
Positive addiction can't be confused with that helpless state of mindless habituation, Rogers says. Positive addiction is when you just can't consider skipping a workout class unless you're absolutely prostrate with illness.
Your body won't let you skip it. And if the class takes time off for the holidays, boy, when it starts up again, your body is absolutely smiling. That's positive addiction.
Rogers for years has been leading many classes, with "Building Bones" being a big favorite, not just for its cheerful camaraderie and easy fun, but because, based firmly on scientific studies, it restores bone mass and solidity for those heading into the golden years.
"If a doctor recommends exercise, this is the class you want," says Heather Allen, 52. "You come out with better posture, stamina, flexibility and balance to prevent falls.
"If I don't come, I miss it. Even with one week off (for the holidays), I get that feeling that I really should be exercising. You feel better, and once your body gets feeling better, you feel lighter, spiritually. You feel you are doing something good for yourself."
Enjoyment of the workout is a vital piece, says Emily Courtright.
"We all enjoy the class so much," says Courtright. "The instructor is full of enthusiasm and is energetic. It flows out of her to us, and we love it.
"And yes, you do become addicted and look forward to it," she says. "If you skip it, you feel sluggish. When you get back into it, you feel good, you're light on your feet and you're conscious of your body, in a fun way."
If your goal is to build bone and slow down osteoporosis, then this workout will meet all your needs, says Rogers. She delivers a menu of lunges, squats (wearing weight vests), stair-stepping, standing on 10 toes, then two heels (not easy) and many more — all without music because it's hard to hear her commands with music going on.
"This class is proven to build bone," says Rogers. "Osteoporosis is the silent killer, and it can start as early as 50. As for the positive addiction, if you don't come, your energy drops, you don't sleep as well, muscles start to feel tight and the body craves movement.
"Movement brings blood flowing back through muscles and gets rid of that tightness," she says. "The muscles want that movement and strength. It's a great addiction to have!"
Having just watched a documentary on depression, Shoshanah Dubiner says hers was banished by the simple act of regular exercise.
"It makes me feel good. It changes my neurons," says Dubiner. "I was feeling really depressed. A friend said to get in an exercise class. I felt better, lost weight, got stronger. You need it. It's a good addiction.
"If I don't come, I feel really crummy. I can feel the toxins build up in my muscles. I feel achy.
"The class has a variety of movement. It's not boring. There is no music. I hate that endlessly boring loud music. (Without music) you pay attention to the body."
Joanne Navickas, 64, says the simple workout has brought her strength and flexibility. She was motivated to come because her mother had osteoporosis.
"To build bones, that's the main thing," says Navickas. "Bones start deteriorating in your 60s and 70s. It's good for posture, so you don't have rounded shoulders. It always feels great after the workout, also during it."
Susan Rust, 67, notes she does the workout to minimize joint deterioration and to have accountability, an impetus to show up and "just do it."
"It builds stamina and strength," says Rust. "It's good discipline. I also walk 3.5 miles a day. I have a desire for it. I want it because I know it's good for me. It's a nice group of people and a remarkable teacher."
Rogers' motto, which appears at the top of her home page, says "Exercise does not take time out of your life: It puts life back into your time!"