More strength training


by cheri sabraw

Meet Mary. Age 85 (but she quickly lets me know she will be 86 in November).

Mary is one of  a number of older women in our small gym, Snap Fitness,  who push weights. Her kettle bell is on its way up above her head. Cheering her on are a cadre of  workout compatriots most of whom are over 65  years old.

Their circuit, often lead by Richard, a high-school classmate of mine (though several years ahead of me) consists of climbing stairs, stretching all muscles, completing a weight-machine circuit, and executing planks, pull-ups, sit-ups, and other core strengthening exercises.

This they do every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning.

The gym is a small no-frills operation. What it lacks in extras, it makes up for in heart, a quality I attribute to Esther, the owner of this franchised location.

Mary, with her infectious smile and  rock-solid will, is a person to remember each day.

And I do.  IMG_3470

Every day that I walk into Snap Fitness, I also remember my mother, Joan.


Here Joan is when she was approaching 80. What many of you do not know is that Joan had no balance, damage from a brutal attack of meningitis at the age of 67. Left deaf and disabled, she continued on to “be the best she could be.”

How to improve a balance that would never come back? Why not take boxing? One prerequisite: her trainer had to be “cute.”

Note her biceps and arms. Her fat left leg from lymphedema, a result of radiation for cancer, never slowed her down. She became the gym rat we all used to tease.


Here she poses without the aid of her walker or cute trainer.

And so, you can see why I now find myself trying to emulate Joanie and Mary.

About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
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13 Responses to More strength training

  1. potsoc says:

    Queen Joan is still around in spirit and, maybe, just a bit, in Mary. Keep it up and her spirit will be around a long time..

    • Cheri says:

      Dear Paul,
      You have great patience. To recall that Joanie is really Queen Joan warms my heart. Thank you for that, Paul. And I agree–her spirit is here. I hope you are well, my friend.

  2. Brig says:

    We are doing a lot of core training in warrior granny yoga. (don’t forget to breathe, warriors) There are some older ladies in my group, and their try is awesome.
    I honestly thought yoga was would be a snap, it’s a snap alright… snap, crackle, pop!
    Your mom’s spirit lives on in those carrying on.

  3. My little friend was a warrior in every way. She was an inspiration in pink boxing gloves. It makes me happy to see her “go-for-it” spirit lives on in her daughter.

  4. Susan says:

    What great role models!

    • Cheri says:

      No greater role model than Joan Block. One of the most amazing women I have ever known. The sad thing is that I didn’t fully appreciate this until she was gone.

      • shoreacres says:

        We all have that kind of experience. I would have been kinder to my mother, had I understood how much she never shared about her early life. And I never understood the kind of struggles my dad had until decades after his death. The wonderful thing is that the continual deepening of our understanding of those now gone is one of our strongest links with them.

  5. Sharon says:

    Cheri, when I read this, I got a tear in my eye! What determination to make your own path! These ladies rock the definition of not giving into gravity!!
    Your momma was an inspiration….Texas strong❤️

    • Cheri says:

      You Southern gals know about toughness and determination (despite Scarlett O’Hara). I focus on my mother and her strength every day. You are also one of those strong Southern women (and my friend Susan above!) who motivate me. I love you!

  6. wkkortas says:

    I think about how my grandaprents’ generation, by and large, were content to sit and watch Matlock and wait for God, so it warms my heart to see the succeeding generation say “I would rather not, thank you.” Like the good Queen Joan, there is no fol-de-rol about going gently into that good night.

  7. Cheri says:

    What a sweet comment. Thank you.

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