Severt “Sev Coach” Legred encourages hundreds of Mesa seniors to get their hearts pumping. A retired high school and college coach, the 69-year-old teaches his fellow residents at Carriage Manor RV community the benefits of exercise.
“I used to coach ‘youngers.’ Now I coach the more mature to enjoy life and live longer,” said Legred, a winter visitor from Minnesota. “As we get older in life, we got to keep our cardiovascular system going.”
Close to 500 Carriage Manor residents, which is 60 percent of the 55-plus community, have signed up for the Get Fit-Stay Fit Challenge. Legred has led the free program at the community for two years.
The goal is to exercise at least 30 minutes at a time for 75 days. Once a participant reaches the goal, they get a pin. About 180 people at Carriage Manor have reached their goal this year.
About 80 residents will receive their pins at a poolside awards ceremony Thursday, and 85 people picked up their pins last week.
Patti Beauchamp just finished her 75 days of exercise. She regularly walks, plays tennis and rides a bike. The program pushes her to exercise.
“Exercise keeps us young,” said the 64-year-old winter visitor from Colorado.
The Get Fit-Stay Fit Challenge has been offered at various places throughout the Valley for the past 13 years. Funded by the nonprofit Dorothy Garske Center, the challenge begins in November and ends May 1.
About 10,500 people Valleywide participated this year, said Katie Stone-Kern, challenge project director.
“I see tremendous benefits in life from exercising,” said Legred. “You feel better and get more out of the good gift of life.”
Legred coached for the cross country and track program at Golden Valley Lutheran Church in Golden Valley, Minn. He recently was inducted into the hall of fame in Minnesota for his coaching accomplishments. He exercises almost daily.
Charles Guglielmo said he went hiking with Legred a couple weeks ago in Apache Junction. Guglielmo brought along his daughter and friend who were both in their 30s. At first, they were concerned for Legred because of his age. But he “flew” right by them.
“We couldn’t believe his speed,” said Guglielmo, 63, a Get Fit-Stay Fit participant. “He went right to the top and went by us like we were standing still.”
Get Fit-Stay Fit Challenge
Information: Call (480) 966-2675 or visit www.dgcenter.org