As a Master Gardener, Bill Pallasch is no stranger to hard work. From spring through fall, the Fargo native spends long hours bending, lifting, planting and pruning. More than a vocation, it's a labor of love. But when he hit his 80s, it became harder to do some of the tasks his job requires. Diabetic-related neuropathy, sore knees, and assorted aches and pains made it difficult just to climb stairs—let alone haul bags of mulch.
Active and athletic all his life, the 84-year-old knew the importance of exercise and joined a local gym. Unfortunately, it didn't provide the environment or support he needed. So when Welcyon came to town, Bill was intrigued by the prospect of a club that caters to the “over-50 crowd” with one-on-one coaching, safe, air-powered strength-training equipment, and a friendly, atmosphere. “I thought this isn't such a bad idea. So I started when they first opened up,” Bill said. Soon he was heading to the club three times a week.
“Going to Welcyon a few times a week really kept my strength up. I could get right in and carry the big mulch bags from the pickup truck—just like I'd never taken any time off.”
“I've noticed improved circulation, and I don't have as many aches and pains as I did. My knees are stronger and that really helps going upstairs. So now I can do things that I probably shouldn't be doing,” he laughed. Best of all, after a winter working out at the club, Bill found it remarkably easy to start gardening again in the spring.
“Normally, when you don't use your muscles all winter, getting back to hard, physical work can be tough. But going to Welcyon a few times a week really kept my strength up. I could get right in and carry the big mulch bags from the pickup truck—just like I'd never taken any time off.”
Bill's success at Welcyon did not go unnoticed in his family. In fact, his daughter Cindy was so inspired by his example that she and her husband joined the club, too.
“I'd never been an exerciser,” said Cindy, who works a desk job at a property management company. “I'm not athletic and don't care to sweat, so I'd never been to a gym.” But then she turned 60 and her health began changing. Cholesterol crept up and blood pressure ran high.
“My Dad gave me a Free Week pass. I saw how much it had done for him, so I thought I'd give it a try.” Three months later Cindy's blood pressure dropped to a normal range, her cardio capacity expanded, and she was noticeably stronger. Another immeasurable benefit: working out at Welcyon scored her some precious one-on-one time with her Dad.
“He's a busy guy and hard to catch!” Cindy says. “The club is one of the few places where we get a chance to catch up.”
“I'm not the perfect specimen. I have health challenges just like anyone else. So if I can do this at my age, anyone can.”
Remarkably youthful in his outlook and appearance, Bill says the secret of his success is simple: keep moving and do something physically active every day.
“Hey, look at me! I'm not the perfect specimen. I have health challenges just like anyone else. So if I can do this at my age, anyone can. We've got folks at the club with knee and hip problems—all kinds of issues. The coaches know that, and work with them accordingly. You make slow, steady progress, and then one day you notice that you're feeling pretty good.”
When asked if he might consider slowing down anytime soon, Bill said that between gardening work, volunteering at a local retirement community, and singing in the church choir he is far too busy.
“Besides, I've got four granddaughters and I want to be around to see them all get married. Plus, I'm planning a big birthday bash for my 90th. Guess, I better keep going to Welcyon,” he said.