My Y Story: Elliott Hagan
Long-time Y member Elliott Hagan shares how the YMCA has played an integral part of his health and wellness journey!
“I have been a member of the Wardle Family YMCA for 20 years. My wife, Pam and I moved form Marietta, GA to Beaufort in 2000. As a hard charging sale rep in the Atlanta area starting in 1974, I was more concerned about making a living than taking care of my health. My eight increased, and at a routine physical exam my doctor informed me that my blood pressure was high normal. This got my attention!
My father, a successful businessman and subsequently, a member of Congress from Georgia, did not take care of his weight and health, and had a stroke at age 58. He had been more focused on business and politics and it cost him his health. He lived in poor health after the stroke from age 58 to age 74. I was determined that I would try not to follow in this path.
I joined the Marietta, GA YMCA in the early 1980s and started attending 3 to 4 times per week jogging and working with weights. I was concerned every time I saw a blood pressure cuff at the doctor’s office, when giving blood for charity, or when taking, or when taking my readings at the a drugstore or grocery store I would have dangerously high blood pressure. I was also put on a blood pressure medicine. My health improved, I felt great as I got older. I also started running 5k, 10k, and 15k road races and one half-marathon! My blood pressure and readings stayed normal.
As a Beaufort Y member over the last 20 years I have tried to attend the same 3 to 4 times a week, even attended a 5:30am aerobics class a few years ago with 5 ladies who would always encourage me and then , “give me the grief” when I skipped a class! I have tried to use the Y every week as a focal point of activity even while running my business in Beaufort from 2000 until 2015.
Then, in 2020 we have a pandemic. In March 2020, the Y was about to close for workouts. I am scanning in one morning after the word was out that it would close soon. My daughter, who lives in Minnesota and is a daily workout person, told me at my “ageless athlete age of 74”, and a member of the ‘at risk’ category group, not to go to the Y to workout. I was not going to listen to her.
As I scanned in at the Y just days before it closed, my friend and the Healthy Living Program director, Denice Fanning, took me aside ands said my daughter, Heather, had contacted the Y to ask them not to let her hard-headed father go in and workout! I relented. Thus, with the Y closing for workouts and thanks to Deni and our great staff, I began my “Y without wall” program, which many of us were following.
I started a program of power walking in my neighborhood with a pacer up to 10,000 steps a day, then a weight program at home, with stretching. This has become so much fun to do that I am now walking outside in Port Royal to the Sands Beach and back to the Y, coming inside for weight work, and then stretching at the Y or at home.
Our Y has been the catalyst for me to keep my blood pressure at a normal range, my weight stable, my health good, and working with Denice and our wonderful, fun staff, the place for me to be each week. This ageless athlete at 74 loves our Y and our staff.” – Elliott Hagan
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