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lifting weights

Strength training puts Barbara Davis in the driver's seat

When Barbara Davis began attending the StrongWomen™ Program, she had no idea the exercises she learned would help her get back to life after a fall left her seriously injured.

"I saw an ad in the paper for the program and it sounded good," 73-year-old Barbara explains of her start. "It consisted of 10 weeks of strength training. We all know as we get older we lose a lot of our strength, so I decided to try it."

Then on Nov. 16, 2016, one of the legs on a ladder Barbara was using for a home painting project gave way. The resulting fall left her with a broken pelvis (in two places) and wrist, head trauma and bruised ribs. She was in the hospital for 14 days, and during her stay, also developed pneumonia. "It was a rough time," she concedes.

"I credit the StrongWomen Program with how fast I healed because my muscles were strong when I had my accident," Barbara states. "I was able to recuperate so much faster than if I hadn't been physically in shape."

Motivating her return to better health was the Mt. Tabor resident's long-awaited vacation to Texas. Barbara and her sister planned to drive to the Lone Star State to spend January vacationing and visiting family.

"When I was in the hospital they asked me about my long-range plan for healing. I said, 'I plan to leave Dec. 26 to go to Texas.' They all kind of raised their eyebrows, but I did it," Barbara shares with a chuckle.

On Dec. 26, 2016, Barbara began the 1,300 mile trip to Texas - in the drivers' seat. She has now returned from Texas and is attending the StrongWomen™ program again.

Despite its name, the program is for both women and men. Each class includes progressive weight training, flexibility practices, balance activities and nutritional advice. The exercises are safe and effective for women and men of all ages, including those who are not in perfect health. Dumbbells and ankle weights are the only equipment used.

Barbara says the weight training and balance moves were most helpful for her.

"I have been such an advocate for this program. I just can't talk enough about it because it has done me so much good."

For more class details, contact Kristin Wolfe, RD, CD, at Gundersen St. Joseph's Hospital and Clinics at (608) 489-8179.