By Lynette Norris
Greene Publishing, Inc.
After a lunch of fried chicken, Rotary Club President Jada Williams called the meeting to order, and Mark Branham, “Corporal-at-Arms,” substituting for Joe Boyles, Sergeant-at-Arms (“And if anything happens to me, we’ll have the Private-at-Arms”), introduced the guest speaker, Cathy Rogers, who would be talking about her favorite topic, fitness.
“She’s a dynamite person,” said Branham, adding that Rogers had her degree in exercise and sports medicine from “THE” University of Florida, and described what one of her fitness classes was like. “She would work us for one solid hour and we could hardly walk to the car,” he said.
Then, she would casually mention that she had three more hour-long classes to teach.
Looking tanned and trim, Rogers took the floor, bringing two sets of weights for some exercise demonstrations later in her presentation: 12-pound weights for her, and two pound weights for Branham, who feigned nearly dropping the weights, and then “painfully” lugging them to his chair.
“It’s never too late to reap the benefits of eating healthy,” Rogers began, going through the changing numbers and percentages of vegetables, fruits and grains people require as they age. One of the most important requirements, fiber, increases as we age, “and most of us probably eat only about half of what we need,” she stated.
“Diets don’t work for weight loss,” she added, because when people go off their diets, their weight will bounce back to what it was before. Only a change in lifestyle and switching over to life-long healthy eating habits with the proper amounts of proteins, carbohydrates, fiber and “good fats” will work in the long run.
The other problem with weight loss is that many, many people consume far, far more calories per day than they actually need to live to begin with. That is why a person who requires only 2000 calories, but consumes 3500, will not lose any weight if he or she cuts 500 calories from the daily intake — there are still far too many surplus calories. That person would have to cut 1500 calories a day before seeing a weight loss of one pound a week.
Also, “a calorie is not a calorie,” she said, meaning that one type of calorie can’t be switched out for another. As an example, a person can’t make up for eating that 350-calorie chocolate chip cookie by skipping a 350-calorie plate of vegetables and fruits.
Rounding out her program on fitness, she listed the benefits of an active, fit lifestyle over a sedentary one, including lowered cholesterol levels and lowered risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even a significantly lowered risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
After a few humorous questions establishing that yard work such as digging post holes constituted vigorous activity, but riding a lawn mower did not count, Rogers had Branham come back up to the front to demonstrate a few simple exercises anyone could do in just a few minutes throughout the day. As Branham comically “lugged” the two-pound weights up front, several people chuckled, especially when he pretended to need both hands to lift one weight.
As they went through the brief, enjoyable demonstration, Rogers made it look easy, but as Branham said at one point, “If you don’t think this hurts, you should try it.”
Rogers agreed, because, as she also said, the benefits of being active far outweigh the non-benefits of remaining sedentary.
“If only they hadn’t had that presentation the same day we had fried chicken,” mused one Rotarian afterward after the meeting adjourned and everyone was heading toward their cars.