Nothing's going to stop a life full of activity

Fitness: Not even a rotator cuff injury could keep 84-year-old Maggie Weinberg off the tennis court for long.

Fitness Profile

Health & Fitness

July 02, 2000|By Nancy Menefee Jackson | Nancy Menefee Jackson,Special to the Sun

Coming off a rotator cuff injury is tough when you're an avid tennis player. But when you're also 84 years old, it can be especially difficult.

But Maggie Weinberg learned a long time ago to shrug off setbacks.

In her youth in the 1920s, Weinberg played against some of the best local tennis players in the area. "I usually lost," she says, but she is proud that she was able to compete.

As an adult singles player in the 1950s, she played in The Evening Sun-sponsored tournaments, as well as those at tennis clubs such as Homeland and Suburban.

And she continued to play tennis until two years ago, when she imjured her rotator cuff. Now, she's beginning to play again, hitting forehands and backstrokes.

She credits glucosamine supplements with helping her heal, along with the expert guidance of Milindi Stifler, a physical fitness coordinator at Roland Park Place, where she lives.

Weinberg wasn't idle during her recovery time. She concentrated on riding a stationary bike and walking on a treadmill. At the urging of Stifler and friends at Roland Park Place, Weinberg found herself competing in the Senior Olympics last year, sponsored by the Maryland Athletic Commission. She rode the bike and walked on the treadmill, and won a gold medal for her efforts.

"It really wasn't much," she says modestly. "There were only two of us in the 80 to 90 group, so we both won gold medals. ... It was fun."

A former resident of Elkridge Estates for 35 years, Weinberg moved to Roland Park Place two years ago. She enjoys the fitness facility there, which offers a variety of exercise equipment and instruction.

Her normal workout is to walk on the treadmill at a speed of 4.2 miles for 20 minutes three times a week. Then she pedals the Easy Rider, which is similar to a stationary bike. When training for the Senior Olympics, she says, "We pushed our speed up a little. I go pretty fast."

Before her injury, she also played one or two sets of tennis several times a week.

Thanks to her fitness classes, Weinberg has discovered weight lifting.

"I'm not very muscular," she says. "I can push off 60 pounds with my leg. I can lift a pound or two pounds with my hands -- that's sort of embarrassing," she adds but then reminds a visitor about her rotator cuff.

Weinberg went to Park School, where she played a variety of sports besides tennis, including baseball, field hockey and track. Field hockey was her favorite.

"I never played lacrosse," she explains, "because I'm too old, and they didn't have it then."

For 20 years, she was a distributor in the food industry, and during World War II, she says proudly, "I taught the Red Cross how to take motors apart. They were much simpler then."

She raised two daughters, and has three grandchildren.

Weinberg doesn't have much time to talk -- she has a current events class to attend, and she's having cocktails later with friends, and of course she needs to practice her ground strokes.

"I've never been a spectacularly good athlete," she says modestly. "I just like keeping active."

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