Their partnership came after both men, who were once co-workers at Osage Utilities, decided they needed better health. They formed a pact to exercise together and have been regularly attending the CRC for more than four months.
Phelps and Linda Kirk and their children, Sarah and Garet, from St Ansgar have been partnering as a family for nearly three and a half years. Though the Kirks participate in different activities at the center after they arrive, it’s their partnering to come together as a family that brings them to the CRC several times a week. Linda states, “It really helps to have someone to come with.” Phelps adds, “Exercise is just a routine, and to get two or three to come with you makes you feel like coming.” Phelps says they often bring Sarah’s friends so she can socialize with classmates as she works out.
Bill and Darlene Demro partnering came as a result of a health crisis. They come every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to help improve Bill’s health after he suffered a severe stroke in 2010. While Bill swims laps in the pool, Darlene often circles the track with friends. Bill comments about his partner, “Without her helping me, I’d be in bad shape.”
Don Pitzen, Ken Krebsbach, and Les Brych from Stacyville partner in getting to the CRC. The men alternate driving to cut costs and also to build relationships. Don spoke of the first few times he came to the CRC. He admitted it was intimidating coming alone until he got better acquainted. Kenny adds, “Everyone is a little timid when they first come.” Partnering with others not only can cut driving costs and build relationships, but it also can help overcome one’s anxieties.
Like many retired couples, Norma and Dave Brunner (pictured above) walk together as a couple several mornings a week. “Walking gives us a little time to talk and discuss what is going to happen for the rest of the day. It’s good to be walking with somebody else and not walking alone,” said Norma.
I wanted to know how partnering in a class structure profited individuals so I visited with CRC member, Amanda Johnson, to ask about her experiences while attending fitness classes. Amanda reports that, “Signing up for a class is a way of getting some accountability so you work out. You can talk yourself out of working out if you don’t have a class.”
Amanda points out that if an individual wants to find a class to partner with they can drop into most classes to see if the class would fit one’s fitness goals. Dropping in on a class does not constitute any further commitment.
Dictionary.com defines partnering as, “A person who shares or is associated with another in some action or endeavor.” As I visited with these various partners, it became clear their first goal was to improve their health. To achieve this they discovered other individuals with that same desire. The ongoing partnerships then reaped benefits beyond their health. Relationships were built, costs were shared, exercising became enjoyable rather than a boring routine, accountability helped improve regularity, encouragement and sharing a common cause translated into loss of weight and better health.
The final question is how does one get started in partnering? First find a person who is serious about becoming more fit. As Dwight Onken states, “You have to realize you need exercise first, and you can build the relationship later.” Dwight put it well. Once the common goal of better health is established, most of the other elements of cost sharing, accountability, encouragement and relationship building will follow.
– Steven Thompson is a member of the Osage Alpha Writers and a CRC Volunteer.