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Ohio Today

Fancy feat

Joan Herrold Wood and her teacher, John Moldthan, dance the rhumba at a competition in Atlanta in October 2002. Photo courtesy ©2002 Albert T. Parker.

Keeping pace

10 ways to stay physically active during your retirement years

By Barbara Pfeiffer

Loss of strength and stamina is often attributed to aging, but the real cause for these declines is often due to simple inactivity. Too often, retired adults become sedentary, and the less they do, the less they are able to do.

The health benefits of staying physically active are many. They include lowering the risk of heart disease by stabilizing blood pressure, and lowering the incidence of adult-onset diabetes through control of blood glucose levels. Other benefits are accelerated weight loss, increased "good cholesterol" (high-density lipoprotein levels), strengthened bones, lessened anxiety, reduced depression, improved posture and enhanced muscle tone.

View 10 tips to help seniors become more physically active

By Joan Slattery Wall

Crowds were gathering; people were murmuring and cheering.

Joan Herrold Wood had taken the dance floor -- again.

Wood, BSJ '52, was aiming to top her No. 2 national spot as a student ballroom dancer at a 2001 competition in Los Angeles.

"In order to play catch-up, I had to dance an enormous number of times," says Wood, who began lessons eight years ago. "I danced 466 heats over about three days.

"This was my last chance to try to overtake No. 1," she remembers. "The judges were saying, 'I don't see how she does that. How old did you say she is?'"

She is 72 -- and she did claim top honors in the United States DanceSport Competitions. She followed that victory with the same ranking at the 2001 Ohio Star Ball, the largest pro-am dancesport competition in the world. In 2002, she was named the top female student dancer.

Wood, whose repertoire includes 23 different dance styles, specializes in international standard dances: waltz, foxtrot, tango, Viennese waltz and quickstep.

"When you're retired, you need another challenge," says Wood, who had a 40-year career in newspapers and public relations and established her own public relations firm. "I like it because it's good exercise and it gets me out being with fun people."

Joan Slattery Wall is assistant editor of Ohio Today.

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