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Sunday, Sep 21, 2014

No time to sit around and grow old


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HUDSON — Nearly 100 years ago, Ruth Myers was born.

On Dec. 20, 1913, in Fort Wayne, Ind., Myers came into the world, and was raised on a farm with an active childhood of horseback riding, fishing and biking with her family and friends, and, of course, daily chores before retiring to sit on her father’s lap and listen to stories.

“It was a simple life that didn’t include the modern conveniences, such as TV, phones and electrical appliances,” Myers said. “But, since we didn’t have them, we didn’t miss them.”

Now, as a member the Family Fitness Center at Little Road and State Road 52, Myers exercises three times a week, as a way to keep up her health and also make friends.

I was starting to stiffen up in my joints, so I wanted to start exercising,” Myers said. “Plus, I wanted to meet new friends.”

A non-drinker who never smoked, Myers grew up on home cooked meals of vegetables and meat from the cattle and hogs raised on her family’s farm.

In 1937, at the height of the Depression, Myers began working at a nearby General Electric plant making electrical transformers. During World War II, Myers was one of the thousands of women known as “Rosie the Riveter,” that made munitions and other war supplies. Her skill with precision instruments was utilized to make bombsights, a device used by aircraft to accurately drop bombs.

After the war, Myers worked at GE until her retirement in 1979. Widowed the previous year, she began taking vacations to warmer climates, including Florida, until Myers moved here in 1984.

But it wasn’t until she was 96 that she joined the gym, only to work out two hours a day, three times a week. Her regimen includes the stationary bike, lifting weights and stretching. She also participates in a dance class for seniors known as “Zumba Gold” that has movements designed for older patrons and oldies music instead of Latin tunes.

Laurie Stidham, 61, is a certified Silver Sneaker instructor who teaches Myers and other seniors the importance of physical fitness.

“We focus on exercises that improve a person’s balance and coordination,” Stidham said. “Things like yoga stretches, resistance bands, squats and other movements circulate the blood to prevent dementia and hardening of the arteries.”

For Myers, exercise is a way of following her father’s advice from her childhood.

“Do right and be right and things will turn out right,” Myers said. “I have some goals in life, such as learning how to use the computer and going to Hawaii. I don’t have time to sit around and grow old.”

Correspondent Cliff Gill can be reached at reportercliffgill@yahoo.com and follow him on Twitter @ReporterCliff.

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