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Quilting cultivates friendships, and ways to help others A Quilts of Valor volunteer works on a quilt that will be donated to a U.S. military servicemember. (Photo by Tad Johnson) BY SUE WEBBER CONTRIBUTING WRITER Friends, hobbies and helping others often are cited as ways to maintain health and well-being. Dolly Hanson has found all three at the Quilter’s Haven in Rosemount. She’s been sewing since she was in her early 20s. “My mother, aunt and grandma sewed, and I took sewing in school,” Hanson said. She began quilting in the late 1960s or early 1970s. A nurse by profession, Hanson retired from the South Dakota Department of Health in Pierre, S.D., where she was in charge of the nursing home inspections process. “I came to this area five years ago to be near my

son, but I didn’t have any friends here,” Hanson said. When she discovered that her sewing machine needed repair, she visited a sewing machine dealer who led her to Quilter’s Haven in Rosemount, owned by Jean Graham. “I always hoped I’d be able to sew when I retired,” said Hanson. She began visiting Quilter’s Haven each Wednesday. “Jean has open quilting,” Hanson said. “You bring whatever you’re working on and quilt all day.” Then Hanson heard about two groups that interested her: Quilts of Valor, a national foundation that makes quilts for veterans, and Quilt Dreamers, a group that makes quilts for children in crisis situations.

She was hooked. “Both groups are really worthwhile,” said Hanson, who now runs Quilts of Valor for the Rosemount area. Quilts of Valor meets on the second Thursday of each month at Quilter’s Haven. “Jean Graham has been kind enough to dedicate time to Quilts of Valor,” Hanson said. “There is good lighting and a nice pleasant space.” The Quilts of Valor group in Rosemount is small, but mighty. “Our oldest quilter, who was 90 when she died, had made 77 quilt tops for Quilts of Valor,” Hanson said. “She was a very speedy sewer. She did a quilt in a week or two. She didn’t sleep well, so she sewed at night.” QUILTING - TO PAGE 5

Page 2 Mature Lifestyles • Friday, January 17, 2014


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Mature Lifestyles • Friday, January 17, 2014 Page 3

Above: Jill Widseth’s favorite summer sport is water skiing. (Submitted photo) Left: Snowshoeing is a winter sport Jill Widseth enjoys. (Submitted photo)

Working out is a lifestyle for one Plymouth woman BY SUE WEBBER CONTRIBUTING WRITER Jill Widseth works full-time as a manufacturer’s representative, but she still manages to maintain a dizzying list of physical activities on a regular basis: hiking, biking, walking, running, water skiing, spinning, kickboxing, snowshoeing, ice skating, in-line skating and crosscountry skiing, to name a few. “Until my late 20s, I didn’t work out, but then I got interested in it,” said Widseth, who is 58. “The older I get, the more I want to do. It’s a lifestyle. Working out gives me energy. I sleep like a baby at night.” Widseth lives five minutes from Lifetime Fitness in Plymouth, where she works out. She tries to get to the gym five to six times a week, usually at 5:30 a.m. “They have good classes at Lifetime, and they’re packed,” Widseth said. “The classes are hard. They have incredible instructors at 5:30 a.m.; they just kick our butts. It’s total conditioning: weights, a little cardio every few minutes, burpees, jumping. It’s crazy. There are a lot of

really young people in the class. It’s so challenging.” Beyond the gym, her other physical activities depend on her schedule and friends that are available. She has a group of several female friends that enjoy biking to Excelsior for lunch in the summertime. She likes to hike in French Park in Plymouth and regularly does a 6.2-mile loop at Baker Park. “Once in a while we do a ‘quadathlon’ – we walk the 6.2-mile hilly loop once, Rollerblade twice, bike three times and then go to lunch,” she said. Despite both her knees being bone-onbone, Widseth said, “Movement helps me. I can’t run anymore, but I can play racquet ball and do other side-to-side sports.” She still hasn’t tried kiteboarding, but has that sport on her list. “I started water skiing in my mid-30s,” Widseth said. “It’s one of my favorites. I love being outdoors. The key to being fit is to find things you like to do. I need variety.” For four years, Widseth said, she skied

on the lake each New Year’s Day at an open place on the Mississippi River near the old Ford plant. “Then you can say you did it,” Widseth said. “It’s just what I do.” Widseth’s father, the late Dean Widseth, played football at the University of Minnesota. “We were always outside growing up,” she said. “Besides doing the standard games outside with neighbor friends, my dad played catch with us with the baseball and football. We went to the beach a lot as a family. My mom loved ice skating, so we did that a lot, and my dad built us an igloo every winter. We biked or walked most places we needed to get to if it was within a few miles.” In contrast to Widseth’s pursuit of an early-morning exercise class, Heather King, a personal trainer at Lifetime Fitness in Plymouth, said that clients 55 and older often work with a personal trainer one-on-one each week to “lay a good foundation of exercise and build balance.” Most people sign up for two 55-minute sessions a week, but some want more,

King said. In addition to group fitness classes and working with personal trainers, other activities available at Lifetime Fitness include swimming, yoga, Pilates, racquetball, tennis and running. “We have a good variety of older and younger clients,” King said. Jane Schrader of Plymouth is a longtime swimmer, but she has chosen instead to exercise daily for several years at the hour-long water aerobics class at Plymouth’s Lifetime Fitness. “It makes me move,” Schrader said. “You move all of your body. You have the buoyancy of the water, so you push a little harder. It keeps your body healthier.” Schrader finds that the water exercise is even more important to her now. “I’m diabetic, and this helps keep the circulation and everything going,” she said. “When I don’t go, I miss it; I feel it.” Many of the people she’s met in class have had hip or knee replacement surgery and find that water aerobics aids in their healing, Schrader said.

Page 4 Mature Lifestyles • Friday, January 17, 2014

Intriguing possibilities for better nutrition

Photo illustration BY SUE WEBBER CONTRIBUTING WRITER If it’s true that we are what we eat, many of us could stand some improvement. Some intriguing possibilities for better nutrition are available through Edina’s Community Education offerings for 2014. “We are really taking a ‘whole person’ approach to health and wellness … for after the New Year, and are offering classes to keep mind, body and spirit engaged with everything from health and wellness, fitness, creative fitness, crafts and hobbies, and professional learning,” said Cheryl Gunness, the Community and Adult Involvement manager with Edina Community Education. Classes being taught by instructors from Nutritional Weight and Wellness include one on balanced foods and another called “Jump Start Your Metabolism.” Dar Kvist, director of Nutritional Weight and Wellness, points out that nutrition affects memory, bone health and energy. “Most seniors are not aware that what they put in their mouths makes a huge

difference in how they feel,” Kvist said. “It affects every one of our systems.” Kvist talks about the importance of food on “Dishing Up Nutrition,” her Saturday morning radio show on 107.1 FM. She also meets with clients individually. “One of my clients is 93, and her daughter knows that if her mom eats right, it will keep her out of a nursing home,” Kvist said. A 73-year-old client, who was on 12 different medications and whose balance had been affected, changed her eating so much that she no longer needs to take medications for blood pressure, diabetes, sleeping and mood alteration. “She has lost 73 pounds, works out almost every day, and her balance and mood (are) great,” Kvist said. “Food makes such a difference in every way.” She notes that many senior citizens grew up on farms or went to the farm to visit grandparents. They likely ate organic eggs, chickens raised without chemicals, and real butter. Still working 70 hours a week at the age of 75 with what she calls “incredible energy,” Kvist said she regularly eats vegetables for breakfast.

“People who eat vegetables for breakfast say it’s the best thing they’ve ever done; they come off feeling so good,” she said. “Once they pull out the processed food, their inflammations go down and they have fewer aches and pains. Once you reduce processed carbs and sugar, your knees won’t hurt so much.” Another tip is to eat something with a little fat content at night, such as strawberries with a little real cream, she said. “Your blood sugar will be stable and you’ll sleep all night,” Kvist said. “You need some good fat every time you eat to keep your brain working. Good fats include olives, avocados, nuts and butter, according to Kvist. Another idea for nutritional change is presented in an Edina Community Education class called “Jump Start Your Health with Green Smoothies.” The class is taught by Kris Roach, a certified holistic health coach, and Emily Wert, a certified wellness specialist. “You need to have the right blender,” Roach said. “It’s a great way to get in a whole bunch of nutrition and minerals. It’s different than juicing. ” She suggests using a variety of leafy greens like spinach, kale or broccoli, plus liquid, ice and a small amount of

sweetener, such as dates, banana or honey. For a creamy orange Dreamsicle-like smoothie, she suggests a handful of greens, vanilla almond milk, and two oranges. “It will turn out bright green, but it will taste like fruit,” Roach said. For people who live alone and don’t want to cook, she suggests going back to the basics by using fresh food rather than processed food that comes in a box or a can. “If you’ve been eating from your pantry for a long time, your taste buds have been hijacked,” Roach said. You might have to try a food three or four times to give it a chance to grow on you, Roach said. One easy tip is to go through the salad bar at your local supermarket and buy a small portion of vegetables, such as broccoli, that can be quickly steamed and paired up with a chicken breast, a small piece of salmon or a pork chop. “Keep variety in your diet,” Roach said. “Be careful not to just open a can of soup. Your immune system is only as good as what you put in your body. Eat what comes from the ground – a real apple instead of applesauce.”

Mature Lifestyles • Friday, January 17, 2014 Page 5

Quilting FROM PAGE 1 Area Quilts of Valor groups pitch in to help complete the quilts. Each of the finished quilts has a label telling who made the quilt top and who did the quilting. Many of the vets who receive the quilts at the Veteran’s Hospital use them on a daily basis, Hanson said. “They know who’s at therapy by which quilts are in the wheelchairs,� she said. The quilting groups thrive and survive on donated fabric, Hanson said, though they sometimes buy what they need. “There are requests for quilts from veterans of all the conflicts,� Hanson said. “Most of the requests are for red, white and blue quilts. We can’t make all of them that way. We have to work with donated fabric. But we’re making them as fast as we can. Most of the quilts we do stay in Minnesota or nearby.� Jean Graham, who opened Quilter’s Haven in 2002, said she is proud to have participated in the national Quilts of Valor program for the last 10 years.

“It started as a program to get people involved making quilts for wounded soldiers; now it includes veterans,� Graham said. “We make the quilts and then turn them over to the Veterans Administration Hospital, where it’s coordinated with the chaplains.� Quilting draws a lot of mother-daughter and grandmother-granddaughter duos to her shop, according to Graham. But, she added, “We have men who quilt, too.� Graham teaches a four-week class for beginners and a four-week follow-up class for interim quilters. “A lot of people do a block a month and at the end of the year, they have a big quilt,� Graham said. “A lot of them have been sewing for a long time and just learned the special technique of quilting. It’s a great hobby.� Graham, who has been sewing since she was 8 years old, began quilting in the 1970s. “I make quilts for myself, or I give them away,� she said. “I make them for family and good friends.� Quilter’s Haven, at 2930 146th St., Rosemount, is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. Sun- Dolly Hanson stands with a quilt made as part of the Quilts of Valor group at Quilters Haven in downtown Rosemount. (Photo by Tad Johnson) day. Information: 651-322-7071.






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Water exercise: It’s not just for the summertime BY SUE WEBBER CONTRIBUTING WRITER Water activities become a major focus for both exercise and pleasure on many Minnesotans’ summer schedules. Some people have found a way to replicate that exercise and pleasure during the winter months by making use of indoor community center pools or local YMCAs. “Our water exercise classes sometimes have 30 or more people,” said Colleen Haubner, executive director of the Northwest YMCA in New Hope. “We’re outgrowing our pool on some days.” Bobbie Gjersvig, program manager for Group Exercise and Active Older Adults (AOA) at the Northwest YMCA in New Hope, said water aerobics is popular with many older men and women ages 60 and up. Two classes a week draw between 10-20 people each, she said. An 8 a.m. water exercise class brings seniors out three times a week. An Aqua Zumba class is also popular, she said. In addition, the YMCA offers 14 different sessions of SilverSneakers classes, plus strength training, cardio and movement to people that range in age from 60-88. “Many of our seniors are here three times a week,” Gjersvig said. “They will be the first to tell you that they are so mobile, active and able to live their lives because they take these classes.” Mary Jo Martinson of Maple Grove has been participating in the YMCA water exercise classes three times a week for the last 10 years. “It’s such a good exercise for anybody, not just seniors,” she said. “It helps with your general health. It can be as gentle or as vigorous as you want. We do a lot of cardio and very vigorous exercise. We sweat in the water. I didn’t think that was possible.” Prior to beginning the classes, Martinson had suffered with hip bursitis that kept her in constant pain. After talking to a friend who said she swore by the water exercises, Martinson gave it a try. “It has helped build the muscles back in my legs,” she said. “I hope I can do the water exercise forever. I do a lot of walking now.” At one time, Martinson said, she led the water aerobics classes herself for three years.

Stephanie Lundquist, left, instructs a SilverSneakers fitness class attended by Richard Gangelhoff at the Brooklyn Center Community Center. (Photo by Paul Groessel) “People there make many new friendships, and that’s very important,” she said. “We look out for each other. To be truly healthy, you need social, emotional and physical activity. This has it all.” Mary and Craig Barlow of Crystal joined the YMCA last spring, and both have been participants in water aerobics four times a week. “We really enjoy it,” Mary said. “It just feels so good. We feel very sluggish when we don’t do it. Craig has a lot of arthritis in his back and this really helps.” Tracy Croissant of Brooklyn Center has also been doing water aerobics at the Northwest YMCA six times a week for 10 years. “It’s fun; there’s a lot of camaraderie,” she said. “You make friends and we meet for coffee afterwards.” Personal trainers generally meet with new adult members at the YMCA to

ascertain what they’re looking for, help them identify areas to work on, and learn how to use the machines, Gjersvig said. “The trainers help them lay out the first couple of weeks and help them start building new habits in a positive way,” she said. “Trainers do follow-ups two to four weeks out.” Water activities also are popular across town at the Brooklyn Center Community Center. Kelly Mertes, recreation program supervisor at the Brooklyn Center Community Center, said several hundred senior citizens ages 55-90 participate in fitness classes there. “For many, it becomes a social thing as well,” Mertes said. “They come for the health and fitness or because they have aches and pains, and then they make such good friends that they do other things, too.”

Beverly Gustafson, a 45-year Brooklyn Center resident who recently moved to Osseo, also endorses the water program in Brooklyn Center. She’s been going to the classes for 20 years. “In the summer, I went to as many as five classes a week; now I go twice a week,” Gustafson said. She used to walk with her husband. But because she has osteoarthritis in her knees, she said, there are a lot of land exercises she can’t do. Water aerobics “improves my flexibility and range and motion,” she said. The pool temperature at the Brooklyn Center Community Center is set at 86 degrees, “right in the middle,” Mertes said. “Some pools are warmer, such as Courage Center and the YMCA,” she said. “Schools or community center pools are used more for laps, so their water generally is cooler. We’re not a competitive pool.”

Mature Lifestyles • Friday, January 17, 2014 Page 7

Retired nurse stays fit, helps those in need BY SUE WEBBER CONTRIBUTING WRITER The word “active” doesn’t begin to describe Doris Braley. “I was an Iowa farm girl,” she said. “We were poor. I climbed trees, I iceskated, I played girls basketball and softball, and I just kept it up.” Now 73, Braley said, “I get up in the morning and do stretches, and I’ve been walking for years.” She runs laps weekly at the New Brighton Community Center and was recently enrolled in five different classes there, including Pilates, cardio workout, yoga and T’ai Chi Chih. Braley logged 500 miles on her bike last summer, including trips on the Cannon River trails and multiple trips around Lake Calhoun in one day. “I usually go to the Cannon River,” she said. “It’s awesome. I don’t like to bike in town.” “You have to keep at it,” said Braley, who thinks nothing of biking 50 miles at a time. Last year, Braley bought ice skates. “I hadn’t ice-skated for 30 years,” she said. “I started with a shovel holding me up.” She kept at it, perfecting her form and her speed. When Braley was 64, her daughter participated in a triathlon, and Braley became concerned when it seemed as though her daughter should have finished, but was nowhere in sight. “I started running and found her; she was dehydrated,” Braley said. “I walked and ran with her to finish the race, and she said, ‘Mom, why don’t you do this?’” Braley participated in three 5K races last year, and is already signing up for another. “There are really a lot of things in life that aren’t important,” Braley said. “But the things that are very important are health, to keep going, to have friends and be involved in the community.” She makes sure her life adheres to those tenets. A retired nurse, Braley has donated time and expertise during trips to Third World countries through Chris-

tian Peacemakers since 1997. She has worked in Nicaragua and Honduras, and recounts traveling up the Andes Mountains and walking across streams. On two trips to Barrancabermeja, Colombia, she traveled the Magdalena River to different places. “It was just awesome; I loved it,” Braley said. “When I lived with other medical teams in Nicaragua, I started to learn some Spanish. It’s good to use different parts of your brain.” She has also been active with Vets for Peace and Women Against Military Madness, including participating in protests in Columbus, Ga. A year ago, she took part in a 100mile peace walk and plans to do it again in 2014. For the last 11 years, Braley has volunteered her nursing expertise in a free clinic each Thursday. In addition, she has delivered Meals on Wheels for 30 Above: Doris Braley is pictured with her grandson Adam, 15. (Submitted photo) years. “I’m not a TV-watching person,” she Below: On one of her trips abroad, Doris Braley worked in Sierra Leone, West Africa, with chilsaid. dren in a village in the bush country. (Submitted photo) Patrice Atkinson, recreation supervisor for the city of New Brighton, sums it up this way: “Doris has the vitality and spirit that motivates those around her.” Braley often walks with a friend to the club, works out and walks home, according to Atkinson. “She has done many running events and the three-day walk for breast cancer,” Atkinson said. “She uses the New Brighton Community Center fitness center and takes multiple group fitness classes.” Lesley Young, recreation coordinator for New Brighton, said that the city has seen increased interest in senior citizen card-playing groups and travel opportunities. “We’ve added some extended travel and contracted with two travel companies,” she said. Because of insurance benefits, the Silver Sneakers program has also become popular, Young said. “That gives people an incentive to work out and use the track and gym,” Young said. “We have ‘sit and fit’ chair exercises and education and enrichment workshops, too.”

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