Mary Eloise Rettinger Smith

Member Stories

I have learned that by one repetition at a time I can regain a lot of the strength and range of motion that I lost when I had a stroke.

Mary Eloise Rettinger Smith

I taught elementary school in Bourbon for 34 years and am now retired. In October 2014 I had a stroke that affected my left arm and leg. I had to learn to walk all over again. I spent two and a half months in therapy at the Bremen hospital. I knew exercising at home would be difficult for me especially during the winter time.
My husband and I decided joining the YMCA in Warsaw would be good motivation for both of us to increase our physical fitness and to keep me moving. I started with a water aerobics class that has been a blessing for increasing the strength and range of motion of my left arm and leg. When I first started last January, I could not push the lightest foam barbell under the water with my left hand. Now I can push two of those barbells stacked under the water with only my left hand. Standing on my right leg, I can lift my left leg out of the water so I can see my toes. I consider these two feats major accomplishments.
Last April my husband and I met with a YMCA staff member that suggested which exercise machines would be most helpful to increase strength and endurance. At first, with my arms I could barely pull down 10 pounds five times. Now I can pull down 35 pounds 40 times. There is a joke that asks, "How do you eat an elephant?" The answer is, "One bite at a time". I have learned that by one repetition at a time I can regain a lot of the strength and range of motion that I lost when I had a stroke.
Last, but not least I deeply appreciate the polite and friendly staff. They have been patient, helpful, and encouraging. I enjoy meeting new people and regularly visiting with friends and acquaintances. Eloise.

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The Y has really changed my life. I have made many friends. I became friends with some of the staff who ask about me when I am not there and if everything is alright. The Y is a big part of my life. I feel like family and at home at the YMCA.

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