A Times Special Feature Being a personal trainer to Mrs. Barbara Lehr since 2002 has reacquainted me with the definition of longevity. There is a big difference between wanting something and making a commitment to something.

At 78 years old, her vitality is amazing and she is currently doing exceptionally well in the 5K runwalks that she has participated in. As a life coach and motivational speaker, I've become a practitioner understanding that it is necessary that we never stop learning and engage in continuous self-development.

As a 55-year old former competitive body builder who started working out in 1978, gyms back then were called health spas. If there is one important piece of advice that I can offer anyone who currently works out, is to “train and don't strain” and to stay injury free. I can proudly say that during my 15 years of training Mrs. Lehr, the type of work regimen that she participates in is all about training and not straining, which helps her stay injury free.

I often reflect back to my competitive body building days when I was much younger, bench pressing 405 lbs. and squatting 500 lbs. I wish I'd subscribed to that type of training, because over time, it has caused me to have a torn rotator cuff and a left hip replacement. However, as I've gotten older and wiser, I've learned the importance of smart training. Now, my goal is to be just as successful as Mrs. Lehr, in terms of longevity. A few weeks ago, she invited my wife and I to a Monday evening yoga class that she attends, and I can personally speak for the both of us when I say it was just what we needed. We not only enjoyed it, and look forward to it again. Because of this class, my core strength has improved, as well as my range of motion. Sometimes as I'm training Mrs. Lehr I have to stop and ask myself who is really training who!!

Maurice Blair is a personal fitness trainer and former competitive bodybuilder.

By Maurice Blair