73-year-old L.C. Carouthers says exercising at the YMCA is what keeps his health problems at bay

After L.C. Carouthers had COVID-19 last year, he could hardly walk from the front door of the Benton Harbor-St. Joseph YMCA to the men’s locker room.

“I’d be tired, exhausted and feel like my legs were going to give out on me, but I just kept coming and kept coming,” he said.

L.C., a Y member since 2015, said having COVID set him back, but didn’t count him out. He comes to the Y at least five days a week and is getting stronger daily.

But at 73-years-old, sometimes he doesn’t feel like coming.

“Something just hits me and tells me to go,” he said. “If I don’t go, then I’m thinking about how I could have been at the Y and I would be feeling a whole lot better than I am now. That’s what motivates me to come.”

L.C. said the physical activity does wonders for his health problems, COPD and diabetes. It opens his lungs so he’s able to breathe better, and it lowers his A1C.

He started exercising regularly after falling off a ladder and hitting his head in 2008. As he recovered, he was getting dizzy all the time and couldn’t do the things he needed to do around the house.

His doctor put him in a physical therapy program at Lakeland Rehabilitation where he was able to be around people and exercise.

When L.C. was across the street at therapy, he’d see how busy the YMCA parking lot was.

“My wife came here to swim in the pool and told me the people were pretty spread out,” he said. “So, I came by when they were remodeling one day in 2015 and I got a tour, saw the exercise machines and that’s what made me start coming here.”

L.C. was a student athlete, playing basketball and football at Benton Harbor High School. He said having been an athlete as a kid motivates him too.

“Once I get on that treadmill or bike, something kicks in and I start to feel better. The more I come, the better it is for me health-wise,” he said.

He’s considered going to Planet Fitness because his insurance would pay for it, and it’s closer to his house in Benton Harbor.

“I come to the Y because I like it here. The environment we have, as far as people that I know, it’s like a little family over here. I just love the people I’ve met and the staff. They seem like great people to be around. It makes my day,” L.C. said.

He said he encourages everyone to exercise, even if it’s just for 15-20 minutes and you don’t lose a pound.

“It’s better than nothing. It’s going to strengthen your heart muscles so if something does occur, the enemy tries to get to you, you have something to fight with,” L.C. said.

He said he only sees his lung doctor for his COPD about once a year now because of his exercise routine.

“The patients that don’t do what I do have to see him more often. This is the key right here. I’m going to do this until I can’t. As long as I’m able to breathe and walk, I’m going to be walking through those doors,” he said.

May 23rd, 2022