Health & Wellness

I Have a Confession

I have a confession. I have not exercised since basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in 1971. Just didn’t see the need. I’d always been slim, felt healthy, and motored through life without all that stretching and lifting and huffing and puffing.

Then I was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

As my oncologist kept increasing the hormone therapies in my treatments, he mentioned that I should probably consider an exercise program because this therapy tends to weaken your muscles and make you grow older, faster.

I shrugged it off, until it did.

One day I looked in the mirror and started seeing someone that looked older than I felt. You know, an arm flap here, a new wrinkle there.

So, my New Year’s Resolution was to finally sign up for some kind of exercise program that would help combat these side effects. The answer for me was a Strength Training with Resistance Bands class through the Roper St. Francis Advantage program.

First step was to enroll my wife Bonnie and I in the Advantage Gold program which only cost $15 a year. That status allows us to enjoy everything from Yoga to Tai Chi to Zumba classes for greatly reduced classes to practically free.

So I signed up for the Strength Training, and I’m glad I did.

When I entered the room with 16 of my newest friends at the Roper St. Francis Cancer Center in West Ashley, it didn’t feel like a gym class. It was more like a meet and greet, until Reggie walked in.

Reggie Ellington is our instructor. Not only is he a third our age, he’s a lot more limber – something I realized quickly as he led us though bends, squats and resistance band exercises that will no doubt help me ward off the effects of my cancer treatment.

And, when the first session was over, I learned two important things: I’m going to be a little sore for the next week or so; and, I probably should have done this 20 years ago.

By: Ken Burger, former Post and Courier sports columnist and local author. Reach Ken at

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