Dancing to her own tune

Fitness Profile

Health: Regular exercise has given Clara Gordon, 82, a healthy body and outlook.

January 31, 1999|By Nancy Menefee Jackson | Nancy Menefee Jackson,Special to the Sun

As a retired social worker, Clara Gordon just can't resist helping people. At Leadenhall Baptist Church in Baltimore, she teaches Sunday school, is active in church affairs, sings in the choir and reaches out to people in need. She enjoys traveling, too, and is planning a Florida trip to sing with the church choir in Daytona Beach.

But maybe she helps people best by serving as an example of the importance of a lifelong devotion to fitness -- because at 82, Gordon still is faithful to her fitness routine.

Twice a week she visits the Waxter Center for Senior Citizens on Park Avenue to participate in an hourlong dance class, everything from tap dancing to line dancing. Her favorites are a dance called the Birdland, which includes taps, slides and twists, and one called Round the World with square-dancing-type maneuvers.

The dancers also walk around the block, for 15 to 20 minutes at a time.

She enjoys dance as a workout because "it involves the entire body."

Originally from North Carolina, Gordon moved to Baltimore at age 10. She graduated from Morgan State University and spent her career with the Housing Authority of Baltimore City. She raised a son, who is now deceased, and a daughter, who is now retired from nursing.

"I always did plenty of exercises," she recalls. "I played basketball, and I loved baseball. I did a lot of running, too; that was my favorite."

When she's not dancing, she continues her daily walks around her Park Heights neighborhood.

"Exercise is good for you, especially for senior citizens," she says, adding that exercise motivates her mentally as well as physically.

"We have to continually exercise. It stimulates us; it's good for our heart."

Fitness Profile tells you about a Baltimore resident who inspires us with his or her quest to be more fit. If you know of a good subject, write to: Fitness Profile, The Sun, Features Department, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278.

Pub Date: 01/31/99

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