Anna Handley of Fenton isn’t taking her mid-50s sitting down.

 She is one of the few people who made a commitment to work out four times a week at the gym in 2017, and has diligently stuck to her routine.

 That makes her last year’s New Year resolution a rarity, because a recent story in U.S. News & World Report said about 80 percent of resolutions to lose weight and get fit fail.

 Failure was not an option for this 55-year-old who was committed to improving her health, after back surgery left her inactive and with 15 extra pounds on her small frame.

 “You can actually reverse the physical age of your body through exercise,” said Handley, who works out at TruFit in Fenton.

 “Personally, I’m not looking to live forever,” she added. “I just want to be healthy and active for the time I am alive. It seems like so many folks in their 50s gather and talk about their doctor appointments, tests, medicine and limitations. It’s depressing. Sickness and disease has become the identity of many.” Handley does a cardio workout of many different exercises, from full-body movements like burpees (a squat thrust) to kettle bells, weights and battle ropes. “Every workout is different,” she said.

 She wants to encourage people of all ages and abilities to exercise, even if they think they can’t do it. “You can modify any exercise,” she said.

 With six screws and pins in her back from back surgery, she is one who really doubted

that she’d be able to do all the movements. “At first, I had to use sliders when doing burpees, but a year later, I’m a lot stronger and don’t even need them,” she said. She’s also back to work as an equine podiatrist, providing shoeless hoof care for horses.

 Handley urges people to overcome their defeating thoughts and allow exercise to do its magic on keeping one’s body and spirit much more youthful.

 “We are a spirit with a soul living in a body. If you don’t take care of it, your life will likely be shorter, and so will the quality of your life and your own enjoyment,” she said.

Benefits of exercise as we age

Physical health

• Helps you maintain or lose weight

• Reduces the impact of illness and chronic disease

• Enhances mobility, flexibility and balance

Mental health

• Improves sleep

• Boosts mood and self-confidence

• Helps brain function, possibly even slowing the progression of brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease 

Source: Helpguide.org

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