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Julie Agan, director of the Council on Aging St. Tammany, trains for a 31.74-mile fundraising ride along the Trace.

“The benefits of exercise on the human body know no limits when it comes to age.”

That quote is from Chris McDougall, owner of Renew Physical Therapy. Over the past four years, McDougall has helped me rehab from several age-related injuries. He told me once that exercise is simply physical therapy for your whole body. And he’s absolutely correct.

This Saturday, April 13, is the day that I, Julie Agan, executive director for the St. Tammany Council on Aging, will engage in about 3½ hours of physical therapy … I mean exercise.

That’s how long it should take for me to complete the 31.74-mile route along the Tammany Trace from Slidell to Covington. It’s the Cycles at 60 event, and I’m doing it to raise awareness of the need for exercise and activity as we age. McDougall, one of the sponsors for the event, approves of my efforts.

“Improved flexibility is always possible no matter the age. Movement is the key to improving and maintaining functional mobility and quality of life,” McDougall says.

During my training ride last week, my left knee, which has a good deal of arthritis in it, began acting up. And the ride before that, my right hip, also affected by arthritis, was aching. But I didn’t stop riding.

I took it easy, worked through the discomfort, and before the ride was over, the pain was gone. As we get older, those muscles, tendons and joints get stiff. If we want them to keep working, we need to work them.

If you’re interested in learning more about staying active as you age, or if you just want to see whether this 60-year-old grandma can finish her ride, come on out on Saturday.

COAST, along with our sponsors, will have four information booths along the route. The public is invited to stop in, pick up some information on exercise and enjoy a healthy snack.

ComForCare is sponsoring the booth at the starting point. I’ll be leaving from the Camellia City Farmers Market, 139 Teddy Ave. in Slidell, at 9 a.m. The Slidell Police Department will be providing me with an escort to the beginning of the Trace at Camp Salmen.

I should cruise into Bayou Adventure, 28178 U.S. 190 in Lacombe by 10 a.m. I’ll hang around (catch my breath) for a bit before heading on to the Mandeville Trailhead Farmers Market. Peoples Health will have a booth at the market with lots of information on health care and exercise. I should be there about 11:15 a.m.

And then, it’s on to the final stretch to Covington, where an after party will take place at the COAST administration offices, 72060 Ramos Ave.

Greenbriar Community Care Center will have a booth set up. Jim Breeland will entertain with live music. And healthy snacks and refreshments will be provided by Green Fork, Kentwood Water, Nur’s Kitchen, Ochsner’s Eat Fit Northshore, Smoothie King and Springs of Life.

 


Golden Age columnist Julie Agan can be reached by email at julie@coastseniors.org or by calling (985) 892-0377.