Marilyn Coldwell, 67, of Rumford works at the incline dumbbell press at the Greater Rumford Community Center as her son Dawson Walton, 47, the center’s personal trainer, assists her Monday afternoon. Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times

RUMFORD — Regulars at the Greater Rumford Community Center gym on Monday — a woman who suffered a broken hip, a trainer who had a stroke, a soon-to-be mother, and a teen who has lost 82 pounds — say consistency is better than unrealistic New Year’s resolutions to improve health.

Dawson Walton, 47, the center’s trainer, said he believes he has made a full recovery from a stroke last August that left one side of his body without feeling and affected his cognitive abilities. He has been working hard since to return to normal health and fitness, he said.

Since coming back to the center on Labor Day, he exercises six days a week, mainly focusing on strength training and cardiovascular workouts.

One of those he trains is his mother, Marilyn Coldwell, 67, of Rumford, who broke her hip in 2006. Three years ago she was diagnosed with spinal stenosis, which required back surgery.

Coldwell said she’s benefited from her son’s training and her workouts for about 10 years. Her consistency in weight training and conditioning exercises has helped her with her overall goal to “stay healthy,” she said.

A walker and a shoeshoer, as well, she said she has gained 80% of her strength back since the surgery.


Her recommendation to others: “Start moving, go slow, and take small steps.”

Garrett Blodgett, 17, of Rumford trains with Walton and is in a separate boxing program. He joined the gym about 18 months ago and has lost 82 pounds by exercising and cutting calories.

“This is the best shape I’ve ever been in in my life, so I definitely made the right decision (to come here),” Blodgett said.

He said improving his health has improved his learning in school and his sleep.

Also doing strength training Monday was Elizabeth Lawlor, 28, of Dixfield who has been exercising at the center for 10 years. She said it improves her mental and physical health. Along with that, she tries to restrict her sugar intake, she said.

Adreanna Scott, 17, of Rumford chose to keep her exercise routine going even though she is due to have a baby Jan. 4. The regime, she said, helps her overcome feeling tired.

Walton suggests that those making New Year’s resolutions on diet and exercise not to change everything at once. It’s better to change one thing at a time until it becomes second nature, he said.

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Garrett Blodgett, 17, of Rumford works on the leg press machine at the Greater Rumford Community Center on Monday afternoon. He’s lost 82 pounds within nine months by exercising and cutting calories, he said. Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times

Elizabeth Lawlor, 28, of Dixfield exercises regularly at the Greater Rumford Community Center. She said it has improved her overall physical and mental health. Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times

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