Keep fit by moving naturally
Published 11:14 am Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Running marathons and pumping iron aren’t required for a healthy lifestyle.
Albert Lea native Lori Ashleson stays fit by utilizing the first step in the Blue Zones Power 9: moving naturally.
Every day, Ashleson walks her white 7-year-old German shepherd, Willie.
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“When it’s cold outside and he doesn’t want to go out, I could just sit there and watch TV,” she said. “That would be so much easier, but he keeps me going; he’s my partner and companion.”
As a service dog, Willie and Ashleson are virtually inseparable. Ashleson performs most of her daily tasks, including shopping, with Willie by her side for mobility and assistance. On one of the duo’s trips to Walmart other customers requested to pet Willie, and the outing lasted about three hours.
“I don’t have the heart to tell people that I need to get my shopping done,” she said. “There’s no way I’m going to turn people down.”
Ashleson, now on the verge of 80, has been active her entire life. In her younger years, she enjoyed playing basketball and volleyball, roller-skating, skiing and riding her bicycle down to City Beach to go swimming, she said.
Arthritis caused her list of activities to shrink, but Ashleson said she is thankful for the opportunity to get out in the fresh air to walk her dog.
Aside from walking Willie on her acreage, the duo enjoys spreading cheer to residents at St. John’s Lutheran Community, Thorne Crest Retirement Community and Oak Park Place. With 150 visits in 2 1/2 years, Willie earned the Therapy Dogs International Outstanding Active Volunteer award.
“He has a good temperament,” Ashleson said.
As a way to become active, Ashleson suggested purchasing a pet.
“Get a dog and go for a walk,” she said.