She normally walks more throughout the day, sometimes taking to the trails near her home. When the weather is not suited to outdoor walking, Liebman zips throughout her house.
But it's hatha yoga that's Liebman's true exercise love. She received a book, “Lilias Yoga and You,” from a friend in 1973. She's been using it ever since.
Throughout central Illinois, people are either finding or maintaining physical activity after retiring. While Liebman prefers yoga and walking, others step into dance-based gym classes or CrossFit programs. Regardless of the type of exercise, the participants say their connections with other exercisers keep them motivated.
Liebman credits her active lifestyle with keeping her sharp and physically able to tour the world with her family. She's joining them on another trip to Ireland this June. She also plays table tennis weekly.
Born in 1921, Liebman grew up active, helping on her family farm. She taught physical education and health at Springfield High School. One of her daughters and two of her granddaughters now teach those same subjects in central Illinois. Liebman talked with her granddaughter's classes about yoga.
She also uses three-pound weights three times per week. She takes those weights when she travels.
A morning person, Liebman does her exercises in front of a full-length window in her home, overlooking a beautiful backdrop. While performing yoga, she says her Methodist prayers along with yogic-based sayings.
“I would never not do yoga,” she said. Liebman appreciates the mentality of yoga: Do the best your body can do.
But, her biggest piece of advice for others is simply to get moving.
Leading the way
Seventy-year-old Mike Suhadolnik is leading the charge to keep seniors healthy. The Springfield resident teaches at CrossFit Instinct, a gym specializing in the strength and conditioning program that uses a mix of aerobic exercise, body weight exercises and weight lifting.
Mike teaches classes and has worked with doctors to create a weight loss program.
When he trains seniors, he focuses on hip mobility, balance and preventing shoulder problems.
With a shirt that reads “Sugar Free,” he spends one Wednesday afternoon leading two married couples through stretching, dynamic movements and weight training. All four say they've seen a difference in their health since finding Suhadolnik.
Suhadolnik started teaching 2 1/2 years ago. Before that, he'd been a power lifter, where the goal is to lift as much weight as possible. A doctor wanted him to lose body fat and in the process, Suhadolnik designed his program, which combines exercise, nutrition and hydration — lots of water.
The goal is for students to become lean, but also to be functional, be able to lift things and be able to get off the ground.
“They like to see people lead by example. It's just like everything else,” Suhadolnik said.
He encourages his students to walk or bike on Sundays and to be in the CrossFit gym six days per week.
“We force them to be able to deal with reality,” he said. “When something happens to you in life, you don't have a machine to guide you. They're going to live better.”
That's what happened to John Barber. The 75-year-old Springfield man started working out with Suhadolnik more than a year ago.
Barber is diabetic, and five years ago received treatment for Stage 4 melanoma, an advanced form. Since he started CrossFit, he's become stronger and healthier overall. He's reduced his insulin use and lost weight. He also convinced his wife, Irene Barber, to join the class.
“It makes you feel good when you're done,” Irene said. “You have to keep moving.”
Neither of the Barbers worked out before joining CrossFit. They've also focused on eating healthier.
“He really has become a gym rat,” Irene said about her husband.
Home on the trails
Pete Gudmundson, 68, and other bike riders participate in a ride for “retired geezers or those hoping to become geezers” through the Springfield Bicycle Club.
This winter, they've been stalled a bit, but they ride about 30 miles a day.
Gudmundson, of Springfield, rode quite a bit before retiring, but now he can take late morning rides. He enjoys the exercise and the social aspect of the club. Some of the bikers have been riding together for more than 10 years.
The group bikes to Chatham, or uses the Lost Bridge Trail, or heads west to New Berlin or north to Salisbury. They stop throughout the rides to chat, often at the Apple Barn in Chatham.
Gudmundson suffered a herniated disk around 1995 and has found biking helps him stretch out.
“It actually helps the back out,” he said.
Mixing it up
Marlene Zimmerman, 77, has been active throughout her life.
“I feel so much better. I just really believe that you have to keep active to be active,” Zimmerman said. “After I sit for a while, I think, ‘This isn't good.'”
She bowls, walks, bikes, golfs and takes Zumba and Pilates classes at FitClub. But it's line dancing that she really loves.
“It looks easy but really you have to be able to move your feet a little bit or you can't do it,” said Zimmerman, a retired teacher.
The Silver Steppers line dancers practice Thursday mornings and do demonstrations two days per week at senior centers, and learn new routines each month. Zimmerman joined eight years ago.
Zimmerman frequently works out with her daughter, Penny Zimmerman-Wills.
“She and I are motivators for each other,” Marlene Zimmerman said.
The social aspect is a big component for Zimmerman. It's one of the reasons she loves bowling. She also loves the challenge. She once got six strikes in a row.
“I'm still trying to do that again,” she said.
Dancing into shape
Suzi Boyd started exercising when she was 45.
“Having worked full-time for many, many years, I found that going to Washington Park … would relieve some of the stress,” said Boyd, who's now 73.
Walking led to jogging, which led to racing, including a half marathon and 10-kilometer distances.
More than two years ago Boyd discovered Zumba. She now does the dance program four days per week at the YMCA, shedding 15 pounds. She walks or bikes the Sangamon Valley Trail on her days off.
“I just thought it would be fun,” Boyd said about Zumba. “I love to dance to music.”
A May 2013 bicycle-vehicle collision left Boyd with a fractured fibula. She was in her Zumba class within five weeks.
While at home, she'd move throughout the house and get her arms exercised.
Boyd wants to be able to keep moving. If she hasn't been able to exercise on a given day, she can tell a difference in her mood.
The group fitness classes have introduced the Springfield resident to new friends and allowed her to connect with old ones.
She danced with her a granddaughter, Alyssa Boyd, during an Athens High School basketball game. Alyssa's on the pompon squad and invited her grandma to perform with them.
They “had a blast,” Suzi Boyd said.