Member of the Month | Pat Pierce

Posted by Elizabeth Dowell on Sunday, June 21, 2015
Elizabeth Dowell
Pat Pierce

I’ve been attending Milestone for 11 years. Initially, it was per a doctor’s recommendation for me to recover from some lingering knee issues that had been caused by an automobile accident 20 years ago.  I started in Dody’s water exercise classes because the low-impact exercise was something I could do in spite of my knees, to improve my overall health.  My doctor had told me at the time of the auto accident that I would inevitably need to have a knee replacement or ankle fusion within 10 years… Well, as I said, that was 20 years ago and no surgery yet.  I’m doing better than ever!

When I first came to Milestone, I attended Dody’s water aerobics classes as my primary form of exercise.  The water was low impact and didn’t hurt my knees, while my legs got stronger and eventually the water aerobics classes got me ready for land.  Now I have pain-free knees!

As I graduated from water to land exercise, I knew I could use some help from a personal trainer.  The first trainer I met with was a young man who was trying to help but he overestimated my physical fitness, didn’t quite understand the limited capabilities I had at the time.  It just wasn’t a good fit.  So I was very happy when I started working with Mary Hayes, the wonderful Milestone personal trainer!  Mary “gets it” about what being a 50-something year old woman is like.  She didn’t treat me like the type of person who has been an athlete their whole life, because I haven’t.  She had an accurate idea of what my capabilities are, and she would push me but just enough so I would get better, not so much that I would get hurt or frustrated.  She has always pushed me to just be a little better than I have been, and she is very encouraging once I do improve and show progress.  She gives me a lot of credit for my accomplishments, which makes me feel great!

I started working towards some new goals September of last year when my daughter Teresa got engaged.  (You might recognize Teresa; she is actually currently the Head Chef at the Milestone Center Café!)  Teresa’s wedding is coming up this September.  My primary goal related to the wedding is all about my arms.  The dress I’m wearing to the rehearsal dinner is sleeveless, so I want my arms to look toned and fit.  Then a secondary goal is for my size 10 dress that I’m wearing to the wedding to look comfortable with room to spare.  I don’t want it to look snug.  Since September, I have lost 16 pounds and I want to lose another 10 pounds before the wedding.

There are a few other things that have added extra motivation for me over the past few years to want to improve my health and fitness.  My mother was diagnosed with diabetes which ultimately led to her passing away a year ago. Through that experience with her, I saw the path of not taking care of your health with preventative maintenance by exercising, and I don’t like where it ends up. 

Another motivation for me is about my grandkids.  I have 2 grandkids in New York, and I expect that I may have more grandkids in the future here in the local area, and I want to be healthy for them.  I want to be a very active grandmother.  That’s one of my biggest motivations.  I want to be able to lift them up and play with them without limitations and without injuring myself.

So, to achieve my goals, I’ve been meeting with Milestone personal trainer Mary Hayes weekly for personal training, then exercising 3 times per week outside of that on my own.  My workouts include cardio and strength training. I walk, run; use the rowing machine and other weight machines; use barbells for dead-lifts and overhead-lifts.  When I really want to have FUN, I go to Dody’s water aerobics class.  After many years I still love that class!

I’m excited about some of the accomplishments I’ve had up to this point.  One accomplishment is that now I can walk AND RUN the track!  Back when my knees bothered me (before doing exercise in the water and working with a personal trainer) I would not have even been able to walk the track. Now I can run!  My goal is to be able to run 3+ laps in a row (improving cardiovascular endurance). 

A major accomplishment I’ve had in the strength category is: I can dead-lift my age in weight… Sixty-three pounds!  My goal is to be able to dead-lift 100 pounds.  That will be a very big deal for me.  When I get it, I would like to put something on my arm as a notation of my achievement.  Not a tattoo, per se, but maybe a Crayola marker on my arm that says “100”!  

As I continue to improve my strength, especially upper body strength, I think it will help me a lot with my day to day life.  Like for example, when I’m at the pool, I want to be able to put my hands up on the side of the pool and push with my arms to lift myself up out of the water without any ladder or hand rails.  And as I mentioned earlier about my grandkids, if I improve my upper body strength that also means I will be able to lift them up and play with them without difficulty, which will be a great joy for me!

I’m excited about where I’m at and where I’m going in my journey of good health and fitness, and I feel like I’m in good hands working with Mary Hayes for a personal trainer, and using the great land and water facilities at Milestone.

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