When Dot McDowell was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes in her fifties with a long family history of diabetic struggles, she knew it was time to make a change. Overnight, McDowell ditched her self-described “sedentary lifestyle,” and started visiting the gym five days a week. She sat down with us to share her story—and how Greeley Recreation helped in achieving the goal of taking control of her health.

What brought you to Greeley Recreation?
When we moved to Greeley a year ago, we were looking for activities for our grand kids. We were so impressed with the facilities, there is literally something for everyone.

Why did you decide to choose Greeley Recreation for your fitness journey?
I first started visiting the Family FunPlex and noticed that staff members were so friendly. They know your name, they know your family, they know your history. If you have goals, the staff here will help you meet them. Even when I’m just running down the hall, I hear people cheering me on, saying “You go, Dot!” So it was definitely the Guests Services staff that provided a real sense of community.

What were your fitness goals when you began?
Working out makes you young again and I wanted my brain to match my body. I can physically do things that I never thought I could do before. You don’t have to work out two hours a day like I do, 15 minutes a day will give you enough physical and mental clarity. When I found that I had a family history of diabetes, I went to the doctor.  Sure enough, I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes. I made a deal with my doctor to start this fitness journey in hopes of correcting my A1C levels and get off medication.

Have you met your goals?
The staff here has changed my goals mindset; I started wanting to lose weight but my personal trainer would often remind me that my range of motion was also improving; smaller things were changing in me improving my quality of life.

What was the hardest part of your fitness journey?
Sometimes, just making yourself go is very hard. I think if I had a home gym, I wouldn’t be as motivated—it’s the people and the trainers here that make the difference. I know staff would miss me if I skip a day, I show up for them as much as I show up for myself. Anthony, one of the Family FunPlex personal trainers, is also big part of my story. It’s community, commitment.

 What has been the highlight of your new active lifestyle?
I am so independent now. The weight loss is great, but I can lift my grand kids and go up and down the steps—just the things I can do, that I couldn’t before. I don’t feel old, the body is fixable and I communicate with it better now. I listen to what my body needs and work with it.

What is one thing you want people to know about Greeley Recreation?
I do feel like there is something here for everybody. If you want to be strong, if you want better range of motion, if you want to feel better, channel that energy into taking care of yourself, and everything in your life will improve exponentially. “Thank you Greeley Recreation Center…you have changed my life!”

With a combination of deep-water fitness, weight lifting and a personal trainer, McDowell has been able to lower her A1C levels and get off her diabetes medication. She says she has found new independence, thanks to her new found strength; able to deadlift 85 pounds and keep up with her three grand kids. McDowell has seen a vast improvement in her quality of life – crediting Greeley Recreation.

Written by
Michelle Patterson, Marketing Assistant