Seniors at Roland Park Place hit 'Century' mark for fitness

A friendship renewed after 60 years led Frances Lentz to become an award-winning role model for fitness-minded seniors at Roland Park Place.

Lentz, a longtime Roland Park resident, came to the continuing care retirement community in 2010 and met another resident, Lovell Perkins in the elevator. They introduced themselves and Lentz said she knew a woman named Lovell Price at Smith College in Massachusetts. As it turned out, they were classmates and hadn't sen each other in six decades. The two renewed their friendship and began walking together, at least a mile a day.

Walking in Roland Park was something Lentz always liked to do anyway, so it was no great hardship at Roland Park Place.

"I just kept on walking," she said.

Lentz, 89, was among 12 Roland Park Place residents who were honored Thursday for walking, biking or swimming 100 miles in three months as part of a fitness challenge. Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was on hand to present certificates to the winner and to Valencio Jackson, fitness and aquatics director, and Stewart Edwards, associate director.

The other winning seniors were Barbara Bonnell, Barbara Kolodkin, Ron Miller, Mary Styrt, Elizabeth Wagner, Nancy Bradford, Antoinette Peirson, Janet Steinberg, Eleanor Szanton and Anne Wyatt-Brown.

"I'm very proud to be here today to help you celebrate," Rawlings-Blake said at the second annual Fitness and Aquatics Appreciation Luncheon. "Being sedentary is no benefit to your health."

Roland Park Place President Terry Snyder told the seniors about a national study that said the most important way to stay fit and healthy is "to move" around physically.

Seniors participated in the challenge by walking around the Roland Park Place grounds (three times around equals one mile), or by walking on a treadmill. They could also swim in the pool, which 30 to 40 seniors visit each day, or ride bikes. They used "the honor system" to record their hours, Edwards said.

"They get their name on a plaque and they get to brag to their neighbors," he said.

Sally Freedman, 86, who moved from Brooklyn, N.Y., to Roland Park Place to be close to her daughter in Roland Park, said its is easier to stay fit at the retirement community.

"We now have a pool in our house," she said.

Lentz doesn't use the pool much — "My hair won't permit it," she said — and doesn't need it.

"I like to walk fast," she said. "It's hard to walk slowly."

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