MANSFIELD - A group of "Golden Girls" are proving that it doesn't matter how old you are, it is never to late to start exercising, and that exercise is a fountain of youth.
The group of nine, who exercise three days a week at the Curves women's fitness club here, range in age from 76 to 89.
Faye Hotelling, 80, who has been working out at curves since April 2001, hit her 2000th workout on Friday, despite setbacks and illness.
Hotelling said she was walking near Wal-Mart one day when a woman backed her car out without realizing Hotelling was there. The accident broke Hotelling's left leg in several places. Hotelling now has seven pins in her leg and "a thing in her knee that looks like a pinking shear," she said.
But that hasn't stopped her from her quest to stay in shape and as flexible as possible.
"I am not afraid to live or die, and I enjoy each day the good Lord gives me," she said.
"The Golden Girls" live, and they love their
Curves in Mansfield. Left, shown are eight of the nine ladies, all in their 80s, front, from left, Miriam Watkins, Faye Hotelling and Joyce Bixby; back, from left, Claire Heaps, Emily Pfaadt, Losi Garrison, Pauline Mizdail and Mary Webster. Absent is Margaret Horton. Right, Mary Webster, soon to be 90 years old, works out at the Mansfield Curves women?s fitness club.
CHERYL R. CLARKE/Sun-Gazette
Hotelling, also a cancer survivor, finished her treatments three years ago, and said she "feels all better."
"I just love Curves," she said. "It's great for your muscles and bones if you're eight or 80," she added.
A former employee at Mansfield University, Hotelling presented her grandson with his diploma when he graduated. "It was a highlight of my life," she said.
Marion Watkins, 82, had heart surgery in 2000, and after she recovered, her daughter bought her a membership to Curves for her birthday. She also has been working out there since 2001 at least three times a week.
"It just keeps me going, and helps you to feel better afterwards," she said.
Watkins, who also underwent surgery for a hyatol hernia in October, said she tries not to eat fatty or fried foods.
Clair Heaps, 76, suffered a stroke 12 years ago after her only son, Stanley, died from cancer.
Heaps, the widow of former Mansfield University coach Dr. John Heaps, who passed away two years ago, said her workout is to keep her heart muscle strong.
"I try to cut down on sweets," she said, and says the workouts help to keep her body toned.
"You have to do the best you can with your body," she said.
Emily Pfaadt, who signed up to Curves six months after open-heart surgery, also has had two hip replacements.
"If I can get up in the morning and put one foot in front of the other, I've got it made," she said.
Pfaadt has an implanted cardio defibrillator, which she said has saved her life more than one after her first heart attack in 1993. She also had hernia surgery in October, but said she had to come back because Curves "helps me feel better."
A diabetic, Pfaadt said she tries to strictly follow the Curves diet.
The "social aspect" of Curves also helps her, "because we encourage and harass each other," she joked.
Pauline Mizdail, 82, has been working out at Curves since September 2001, and also has a pacemaker. Mizdail is proud of her 10 children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
She says working out "helps me to feel better." A borderline diabetic, Mizdail said she also sticks to the Curves diet plan.
"This is my social hour," she added.
Lois Garrison, 83, moved back to the area in 2006 to care for her daughter who was ill. She said the exercise program at Curves has helped her with her balance problems.
"Dawn (the owner) is my buddy," she said. "She holds my hand so I don't fall down," she added.
Egan added to Garrison's comment saying, "If she's not here for awhile, her equilibrium goes back to being bad."
"I would really miss it if I didn't come," she said.
Mary Webster, who will be 90 years old soon, said she started coming to Curves last year when her step-daughter-in-law Shirley Webster encouraged her to try it.
"I enjoyed coming after my husband passed away and I knew I needed to keep active," Webster said.
Webster, who worked in the cafeteria at Walter Elementary School for 20 years, said she has been married and widowed twice.
"I was always active. I have seven kids. The Lord has been awful good to me and I thank Him every night," she said.
Joyce Bixby, who said she is "in her 80s" is the widow of Mansfield High School teacher and coach Britton Bixby. Bixby said she started working out at Curves in April 2001, and said she tries to use it "to stay young."
Though she has never had cancer, many family members have died from the disease, and she is trying to stay as healthy as possible. "I am the same weight now as when I got married," she said proudly.
Bixby, who broke both her hips while visiting one of her five sons in 2005, said she works out nearly every day and doesn't take any prescription medications.
Instead, she said she supplements her diet with natural supplements.
Margaret Horton, who couldn't be interviewed because she was working, has worked out at Curves since May, 2001 and still works full time at the university cafeteria.
A breast cancer survivor, Horton has 1,074 workouts in, Egan said.
"A lot of these ladies get their enrollments paid for through their health insurance," she added.
Anyone interested in joining Curves may contact Egan at 662-7238.