by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Marilyn Frankel talks body composition to a group of very lean seniors. Most of us care about how we look — to a fault. So it’s discouraging to learn that 1) we’re born with a body type we can’t change, and 2) even the most healthy-looking of us may not really be healthy at all. This was the cheery news delivered by Marilyn Frankel, our resident exercise physiologist, at her bi-monthly talk at the West Linn Adult Community Center two weeks ago.

“It’s all about body composition,” Frankel said. “And specifically, it’s about what percentage of total body weight is fat, and what percentage is lean body mass.”

“Lean body mass” sounds good, right? And “fat” sounds bad. But Frankel says good health requires some of each — in the proper ratio, which is determined by sex and age. This is the easy part. We know what the proper ratios are.

The hard part is accurately calculating an individual’s ratio. Over the years we’ve tried many methods, and most have proven inadequate over time.

“Pinching” a fleshy area of the body with calipers was a standard method of measuring fat for a long time. Underwater weighing and bioelectrical impedance were also popular — if somewhat arcane — methods, too. Body Mass Index continues to have supporters (and detractors) as well, and the new Dual Energy X-ray Absorption seems promising.

But Frankel says that a simple measure you can take at home is probably as good an indicator of overall health as any other. Measure the circumference of your body at your true waist and at your hips. Then divide the first number by the second. Males with a number less than .85, and females less than .75 are in pretty good shape. Go over 1.0, and you’re not doing so well.

So Frankel says we shouldn’t focus on our weight as measured by the scale as much as we do. It’s a false indicator of overall health. Getting us to really believe this is the challenge.

Here are the upcoming week’s activities. Please call the WLACC at 503-557-4704 for specific times and possible fees. Also, all meals listed below are subject to change, but only for the better. Computer assistance is currently being offered by appointment between 9 a.m. and noon, every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

Friday, March 1

In the morning, we have the Core Strength class and the Strength and Balance class, the Peripatetic Walkers, Aerobics class, and the Oil Painting group. The Whist card group will meet between 10 a.m. and noon. At noon we will serve fried chicken. From 12:30 until 3 p.m., the Pinochle group will meet. At 1 p.m., the Texas Hold’em poker group will deal.

Monday, March 4

In the morning we have Tai Chi, The Peripatetic Walkers, the Wood Carving group, Aerobics class, and Hand & Foot card game group. The lunch menu includes penne pasta with peppers, onions and sausage. After lunch, the Bridge Group will meet, and the Pilates-Inspired Core Strength class will meet (off site) at 2 p.m.

Tuesday, March 5

AARP tax preparation appointments are available from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. today. Morning offerings at the WLACC include Core Strength class, Strength and Balance class and Gentle Yoga class. The “Honoring Our Memories” writing group also meets from 10 a.m. to noon. Our Ukulele Group will strum together at 2 p.m., and Luella Hunt will teach pinochle to new players starting at 1 p.m.

Wednesday, March 6

The Pilates-Inspired Core Strength class will meet (off site) at 9:45 a.m. In the morning, we offer the Peripatetic Walking group, Chair Aerobics class, Core Strength class, Strength and Balance class and the Gardening Club will meet. The Line Dancing class meets from 11 a.m. to noon. A visiting nurse will perform complimentary blood pressure checks from 11 a.m. to noon. No appointment needed. At noon, we will have our monthly Birthday Brunch. Those with birthdays in March will eat for free; all others pay only $3. After lunch, the Pinochle group will shuffle and deal from 12:30 to 3 p.m. as usual. At 12:30 p.m., the Board of the Friends of the WLACC will meet. All members are welcome to attend.

Thursday, March 7

The Share Singers group will visit The Springs at Clackamas Woods this morning. Our morning offerings at the center include Core Strength class, Strength and Balance class, and our Gentle Yoga class. The knitting/crocheting group will convene at 10 a.m., and the bridge group meets at 10:30.

WLACC Gift Shop

Come visit the best-kept shopping secret in town: the WLACC Gift Shop. We have added many new donation and consignment items. It you like the looks of glass, we have many cut glass and crystal pieces including a punchbowl with 14 cups and glass cake plates. Additionally, we have many locally made items, including rope/fabric woven baskets and new jewelry. We also have new blingy fashion watches. And if you just love beautifully painted Big Sky and Oregon Wildlife wood duck decoys, signed and dated, we’ve got ’em. Also a Spanish zaphir figurine and several Lenox pieces, as well as Lithuanian real amber necklaces. The WLACC Gift Shop is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The gift shop accepts cash, checks, and well-behaved children.

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