A Lifetime of Exercise

Below is a short profile of HealthQuest member Else Ross that was written by our GM Gail Conrads.  Else is 93 years old and has a wonderful attitude and a great sense of humor.  When asked her thoughts on aging, she replied “I’m not fond of it”.  That may be true, but she’s certainly doing it well. 

Else became a HealthQuest member in 1997, when she was 80 years old and can still be seen almost daily working out right along with the rest of us.   I had the pleasure of interviewing Else and I can tell you she has had an incredibly interesting life. 

Else was born in Germany to very active parents.  Her Mother was so fitness conscious that one of Else’s first memories is having her mother teach calisthenic type exercise classes to groups of children.  This early life experience has led the way for Else to stay active her entire life.  

While attending Medical School, this vivacious soul remembers getting up early in the morning and doing floor exercises before going to school.  Else was a Family Practitioner for 25 years in Oakland and then returned to school to obtain a doctorate in Psychiatry.  This second career spear-headed the move to Napa.   While living in Oakland, her favorite activity was an Afro Haitian Dance class.   Dancing really has always been her most loved form of exercise.  In fact, she still attends a ballroom dance class in Sonoma with about 16 other people and has done so for the past 14 years. 

 She has always used a bicycle as a means of transportation.   When Else and her husband would go to San Francisco for theatre events they would pack their bicycles in the car and use them to get around the city.  Later in her life they lived up on Mt. Veeder and again they would take their bicycles up on the Mt. Veeder ridge for pleasure and exercise.    Else actually rode her bike to HealthQuest from south Napa until about 2 years ago.  She says “I did not stop because of balance or because I could not ride the bike.  I just couldn’t lift it up to put it away anymore!”

HealthQuest receives Else’s praise for  helping her keep her balance, strength, and endurance.   Lana’s Aerobic Dance and Margaret’s ball class were in her repertoire until the recent past.   Else says “Now I come in 5-6 days a week.   I still work with the ball, I ride a bike, I do the machines I like, and  then I get down on the floor and do Dambala, an African dance snake movement that works the spine.   I love to move and I attribute my balance and overall health to the fact that I just never stopped”. 

I believe that Else possesses one of the keys to longevity—the lifelong love of exercise and awareness of one’s physical and mental health.    Cheers to you Else!   You are an inspiration to all HealthQuest members!



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