December 1, 2:29 PM click here to comment > 6
What are you working on?
This is Ari Yoder. She is 66 years old, recently retired, and lives in Seattle Housing Authority senior housing. She is a driver for the Lifelong Recreation program and a regular participant in the Sound Steps walking group. She sold her car in January to start walking, biking and riding transit, and since then she has lost over 60 pounds.
“I thought it might be hard to let go of my car – at first it was kind of scary, but I just had to take a deep breath and let it go. But the traffic in Seattle is so awful anyway, and the buses run everywhere.”
After she sold her car, she stopped by her local community center to check out the Lifelong Recreation fitness programs. 10 months later, she walks 4-5 days each week with her walking group, several miles at a time, attends long hikes with Sound Steps, and just completed a half-marathon. On her own time she is training for a full marathon, with the goal of completing one before she turns 70. Her cholesterol is down, her energy is up, and she feels great.
Ari is a vocal advocate for the health benefits of getting around without a car. She is working with her Seattle Housing Authority property managers to get a bike rack for her building. It took some effort, but the rack should be installed soon. She wants to bike more often to get exercise, but there are some obstacles. “There are some bike lanes where I live, in Lake City, but I don’t feel comfortable using them. I pulled over once and asked a police officer if I could ride on the sidewalk, and he said yes, so I mostly do that. I just don’t feel like motorists are concerned for my safety.”
Another problem is that the bike racks on Metro buses require two hands, and with her arthritis, it’s really tough to get her bike loaded fast enough. But she found out recently that there are practice racks available downtown, in West Seattle and the U-District, so hopefully she can get a little quicker.
“I wish more older people would get out there and start exercising. Getting rid of my car has saved me a lot of money and transformed my health. I have the time, why not use it to get around town in a way that makes me healthier?”
What Are You Working On? is a series that looks at what we’re up to in the office, and what people out in the community are doing. Stay tuned for more stories of how one person’s advocacy and hard work can create change in ways large and small.
So – what are YOU working on?
Posted by: Words: April Thomas Pictures: Jen Nance