Robert Miller had more than his share of health problems.
A diabetic with severe breathing problems, there was not much he could do without becoming severely winded.
"I just sat around and played games on the computer and watched TV," said Miller, 69, of Muncy.
Rober Miller, front, center, and other seniors in the SilverSneakers program go through an exercise session.
But since signing up for Geisinger Health Plan's SilverSneakers Fitness Program at the East Lycoming YMCA, he feels like a new person.
The five-days-a-week exercise plan combining cardio-vascular exercises, weight lifting and other physical activities, has restored his breathing and helped him shed much unneeded pounds.
"I can go and do things without depending on people," he said. "Before, I could hardly walk."
SilverSneakers staff members are available to help members meet personal wellness goals.
On site-facilities and offerings include exercise equipment, a pool, saunas, fitness classes, and other activities.
Miller couldn't be happier that he's reclaiming his health through the program, but he also enjoys being around others who take part in it.
A self-decribed "goof-off," Miller said those people encourage him.
"It's fun," he said.
He talked about the 77-year-old woman who inspires him with her youthful vigor.
"If you didn't know any better, you'd think she's a young cheerleader," he said. "Ok, I'm 69. One guy is 82. Just watching those guys gave me more energy to keep up."
Prior to SilverSneakers, it had been years since Miller really felt good.
A Vietnam Army veteran, he started having problems with breathing more than 20 years ago.
It was about that time at the behest of his physician that he retired from his job as a machine operator from Radiant Steel.
He decided to join up with Silver Sneakers more than a year ago at the urging of friends.
When he first started in the program, he did a lot of walking.
Now, he's progressed to doing more strenuous cardio-vascular activities and other exercises.
He especially enjoys one particular fitness routine.
"We call it beating the balls. You get drumsticks and a ball," he said. "You beat the ball with drumsticks."
He said the ball beating tires him out, but it's also a lot of fun.
Miller has come a long way.
When he started, he couldn't walk a full lap around the gym. But in April he completed a 5K walk.
Beyond that, he's lost about 50 pounds since joining the program.
He carries 269 pounds on a six-foot frame.
"My goal right now is to get down to about 250 pounds," he said.
Most recently, Miller received the Richard L. Swanson Award for his progress and accomplishments through the SilverSneakers program.
He looks forward to continuing with his fitness regimen.
After all, the alternative would be to feel lousy and give up on his health - which is no option at all.