Deloris “Dee” Lowrey had a treadmill at home. She didn’t need a gym membership.
But at a friend’s urging, she tried out the Salvation Army Kroc Center, near 27th and Y Streets.
The Omaha woman hated the routine she had fallen into. Lifting weights and walking on the treadmill wasn’t cutting it.
On a whim, she decided to try an aquatics class. Then came Zumba. Slowly, she started adding more and more classes to her weekly routine.
Now the 69-year-old is at the gym five days a week, taking two or three classes a day. She has dropped 35 pounds in two years of working out.
Without the classes, Lowrey said, she wouldn’t feel as compelled to show up. Instead, she might sleep late, lounge around and go back for a nap. But the trainers and the class variety keep her coming back.
The gym keeps Lowrey, a retired nurse, physically fit and helps keep her mind sharp. Line dancing — and knowing which step comes next — helps her memory.
“For 45 years, I took care of patients,” Lowrey said. “Now, I need to take care of myself, physically and mentally.”
Sign up for the Live Well Nebraska newsletter
Get the latest health headlines and inspiring stories straight to your inbox.
Q: When did you start working out and why?
A: I started at the Kroc Center two years ago. My friend and I went to an open house. I joined, and when I started out, I thought I am going to do what I normally do — weights and the treadmill. I hated it, so I tried classes. As time went on, I started taking more classes.
Q: Describe your workouts. How many days per week do you exercise?
A: I do two or three classes five days a week. It is the most wonderful thing. On Mondays, I do aquatics and then tai chi. On Tuesdays, I take a fit-and-function class geared toward people my age, and then line dancing. Then Wednesday, I take aquatics and chair yoga. Thursday is the same as Tuesday, but I add aquatics. Friday is pickleball and tai chi.
Q: What is your current fitness goal?
A: My fitness goal is to stay healthy, improve my flexibility and lose some more weight. That’s it.
Q: What has been your biggest accomplishment?
A: My biggest accomplishment is going. I’ve made this a routine for two years. I’ve made friends, too.
Q: What has been the toughest hurdle and how did you overcome it?
A: The toughest hurdle is to get up and go. Getting yourself motivated to leave at 7:30 in the morning to go to class. Once you’re out the door, it’s fine. I’ve never once said, “I wish I wouldn’t have gone.” It’s when you don’t go that you wish you had.
Q: What helps you stay on track?
A: The people. Everybody depends on everybody else. We keep people on track.
Q: What is your gym pet peeve?
A: At some places, people don’t clean equipment or pick up after themselves, but I don’t see that happening (at the Kroc Center).
Q: What do you do when you aren’t in the gym?
A: I love to read. I’m quite social with my friends. We go to $5 movies and we go out to eat once or twice a week to chitchat. In the summer, I work outside in my yard. I just got a new sewing machine, so maybe I can start working on stuff, like learning how to hem pants.
Q: What is the piece of equipment, supplement, clothing, etc. that you can’t live without?
A: A good pair of tennis shoes and a swimsuit.
Q: What advice would you give to someone who is just starting their fitness journey?
A: Set a routine and start slow. Don’t set your expectations too high. Don’t get discouraged and don’t give up. It’s forever. It’s a lifestyle. Get your steps up, get your water in and eat healthy. Shop around for a gym.
Gymgoers share what motivates them, pet peeves and their proudest accomplishments
You never know who you might run into at the gym.
There's the man who's exercising as he waits for a heart transplant. Or the woman who's made Jazzercise workouts part of her life for more than 30 years.
Some workouts see moms accompanied by babies. Elsewhere you'll find folks well into their 90s who stick with exercise.
Check out their stories.