It’s Never Too Late to Start Exercising

I joined the River Valley Club shortly after retiring from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, where I was the Executive Officer for 32 years. During my tenure at Tuck, I was a total workaholic. I really enjoyed my work! But it allowed little time for ex­ercise except for a swim or two while on vacations, which were few and far between. Then, in December 2000, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. After surgery and ra­diology, my sister suggested a brief stay at Canyon Ranch, a lovely spa in the Berkshires well-known for its wellness program, including group fitness classes. I enjoyed the classes so much that, upon my return to the Upper Valley, I in­quired into membership at the River Valley Club. After more than 20 years, I can assure you that Canyon Ranch has nothing over RVC as far as classes, equipment, facilities, and trainers are concerned!


I began my RVC experience with an initial fitness orienta­tion with a Certified Personal Trainer, who helped me de­sign a basic fitness program, including strength training on the gym floor and laps in the pool. While swimming one day I discovered RVC’s aqua fitness classes and became an avid devotee. I quickly came to appreciate the ben­efits of aqua fitness: low im­pact with full-body movement that helped me build strength, flexibility, and mobility.


In my first class, I met Donna. She was a participant at that time, who ultimately trained to become a Certified Aquat­ic Instructor and joined the teaching ranks at RVC. So, while I’ve really enjoyed all of my aqua fitness instructors, I have a soft spot for Donna. I love her enthusiasm and posi­tivity and, being a late riser, have attended every evening class she teaches and then some. Each class is unique, with a variety of exercises and music. And, I have really ap­preciated Donna’s greeting us each day with a smile, encouraging us to listen to our bodies, and helping us adapt each class to our own individual needs and abilities.


Another benefit of my time at RVC is the friends that I have made. My aqua classmates have always made me feel welcome. They’ve encour­aged me along my fitness journey and supported me through life’s ups and downs, including the loss of my hus­band of 62 years. Nothing like a relaxing post-swim sauna to cement friendships!


Thanks to RVC, I am living proof that it is never too late to start exercising. I took my first fitness class in my 70’s and now, in my 90’s, I continue to look forward every day to my classes, my instructors, and my friends at the River Valley Club.


Mado Macdonald Member since 2001
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 Jennifer Packard
Jennifer Packard

Whether you’re just starting out, trying to get back into a routine, or are feeling frustrated with your current regimen: Your fitness journey is your own. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else.

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Terry Hall

‘Can’t’ is no longer in my vocabulary, and I have a sense of pride in my ability to work toward a goal and not only achieve it, but often exceed it.