An advocate for fun!

clientuploads/Misc Images/SheilaHultgren.jpgSheila Hultgren, 64, has an impressive fitness schedule. At least four days a week she takes part in aerobics, strength and yoga classes at the Bonita Springs Y. When not in a class with friends, she walks on the treadmill at an incline level of 7 at about 4.5 mph. This isn’t a routine Hultgren could have imagined a year ago when she was 35 pounds heavier, but it was a necessary change.

Last year Hultgren had type 2 diabetes and sometimes had to ask her adult daughter to tie her shoes. When her husband had a quadruple bypass surgery, though, the couple knew they needed to commit to being active. “Gardening and walking wasn’t doing it,” said Hultgren, who is also a mixed-media artist and quilter. When the Y reopened last summer and Hultgren learned her Silver Sneakers insurance program was accepted here, she immediately signed up for a membership and started attending classes.

“I need classes,” she said. “It’s invigorating to talk to other people, plus I can check my technique and give new people enthusiasm.”

Over the course of a year Hultgren lost 35 pounds and dropped to a dress size she hadn’t worn since 1985, she jokes. More importantly, Hultgren no longer requires anymedication to manage her diabetes, all of her neuropathy pain is gone and she takes just one blood pressure pill a day.


Nowadays Hultgren is expected at the Y. She’s immediately recognizable by her colorful hair –pink, neon green and blue –which she changes the color of to coordinate with her exercise wardrobe. What Hultgren is happier to be recognized for, though, is her success, which she hopes inspires other adults to get moving.  “I’m an advocate for fun!” Hultgren said.

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