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Burgess: Work out this spring
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If you're burned out, or stressed out, or your spirit is low; What you need the most is to get up and go - Get some exercise!

That's what we do here in Social Circle. Well, not everybody; but a lot of us do. In fact, we're becoming a city of workout-a-holics. The health benefits of exercise for most people are well documented. Exercise helps us to feel better, look better and increases our energy level. For seniors, exercise is the key to a longer, fuller life.

One of my favorite places to exercise is the Covington Y. When we first moved to Social Circle, the Covington YMCA was a small, inconspicuous little building with few programs and services. Several years later, with assistance from the Metro Atlanta YMCA and local financial support, the building was redesigned, expanded and became the modern structure it is today. Today, there are programs for almost everyone.

My husband, Jim, and I love to go to the Y. Other members from Social Circle who share our pain include Rev. Richard Noth, Vicki Noth, DeDe Demarks, and Ashley Flores. The atmosphere there is friendly and upbeat. Highly qualified instructors like April, Darcel and Denise are there to cheer you up and cheer you on. One great class is Zumba taught by Ruth and Connie. Zumba is the latest national dance craze and even if you don't know how to dance Latin style, these ladies can lead you in a fabulous workout. Also, for those who love to dance but whose spouses or boy/girl friends don't, you'd love Darcel's line dancing class. Line dancing is a great way to dance without a partner, and Darcel keeps you moving and learning new steps.

Another great place to work out is William Berry's "Walton Athletic 24" in Monroe. This business was formerly a department of the Walton County Hospital until William bought it several years ago. He has a lot of fitness equipment (I counted 20 treadmills) and popular programs such as Silver Sneakers, group exercise and water aerobics classes. Social Circle residents who work out regularly at this facility include Dr. Willie Enis, Keelie Garrett, who brings her mother, and, of course, me. We can also claim Tammy Allgood, a fantastic step aerobics instructor, as one of our own. Actually, she's from Rutledge but Rutledge-ites are so close to Social Circle that we call them semi-Social Circle-ites. That applies also to Susan and Tom Whitley who live in Jersey and are closely involved in our community.

The Walton County Recreation Department offers adult exercise programs of every description at nominal cost. These programs are available at two community centers, the Felker Community Center in Monroe and Meridian Community Center in Loganville. The senior exercise program is free of charge. I visited the senior exercise class at the Felker Center and watched Valerie Urmetz lead a group of 50 or 60 seniors in a vigorous routine. Believe me, this was not a class for wimps. Social Circle-ites Penny Keener, Elaine Burress, Nan Queen and Jane Partee were shaking and moving and tapping along with the best of them.

In Social Circle, we also have a growing number of walkers tramping resolutely up and down our city streets. Walking is a wonderful form of exercise - all it takes is a bit of time and a lot of self motivation. Almost every day I see Bettye Ray and Becky Dally walking with great determination on their regular five mile walk. Anne Peppers and Carolyn Neeley are also walkers. I often see Wayne McMillan (who reads while he walks!), Fred Wiley, Janice McPherson, Donald and Jeanette Stapp, Jenny Cole and her friends, and many others hoofing it around the city. If you were to observe closely, you will spot Jackie Rainwater pumping up and down the trail in the Social Circle passive park.

There are many people who claim that they don't have time to exercise or they're too tired. What people don't realize is that when they exercise regularly they have more energy and don't tire as easily. Interpolating from an anonymous source, "we do not quit exercising because we grow old...we grow old because we quit exercising." Exercise takes time and determination - but the benefits are many. We need to get out and DO IT!