“I knew when I started replacing body parts it was time to do something different,” expressed Spring Valley resident Denise Abbott.
Though fitness has been an important part of her daily routine for a number of years, Abbott found, after her knee replacement surgery on March 9, 2015, it became essential.
“After surgery, my leg was one of those that was getting stiff. I went through physical therapy at Active PT and I would come in here (Fit Express) because I’m a member and they really told me what equipment to use. They even had me in the pool in Rochester. Therapy is so important so it was nice that it was combined with my gym,” Abbott said. “That was what kept me mobile, because otherwise it would be really stiff. The more I worked on it and kept moving the better it became.”
Abbott’s dedication to her recovery is evident as she talks about how far she has come. “I couldn’t do any of the cardio machines, but now I can do an hour on them! So big difference; I had a very pronounced limp before, it had been bad for six years, and now I don’t walk with a limp anymore.”
She noted her routine consists of an hour on the sitting elliptical, free weights and, depending on her schedule, she’ll squeeze in some circuit training.
Abbott admits she wasn’t always so dedicated to exercising.
“I probably started exercising more when I hit 40. I think it’s because I started having grandchildren and I thought, ‘Gee, I’d like to be around for them.’ I don’t think I was working as many double shifts then, so I had a little more time. And it was time to do something for myself,” Abbott recalled. “I remember, when I first started, this is when my kids were little, I couldn’t walk around the block because I’d get a side ache. Now, all of a sudden, I’m up to four miles. And I used to be a smoker, but I don’t smoke anymore. It all just makes you feel better.”
Exercising also helps ease the aches brought on by her 35 years as a nursing assistant at the Stewartville Care Center, which she admits is hard on the body.
“I found I do much better during the day if I come in and get going — it gets the adrenaline going. I just feel better when I exercise and it gives you a better outlook for the day, too,” Abbott said.
Though she now works part-time at the care center, Abbott stays quite busy as she also helps care for her grandchildren, but she always makes time to squeeze in a workout.
Whether it is making the trip to Fit Express or just taking her dog for a walk around the block, Abbott knows it is worth the effort and her dedication has rubbed off on her family and friends, too.
“My mom comes down here and she’s had hip and knee surgery so it helps her get going. My daughters have their children at home, so they do their exercising at home since they don’t have time to go anywhere,” Abbott explained.
Abbott’s focus on her health and her dedication to working out have transformed her life in a positive way and she hopes others will be inspired to do the same.
“Do 20 minutes a day of just doing something, even if it is just going for a walk around the block. It makes a big difference and just makes you feel better,” Abbott advised.