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From tennis & hoops to walking

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Eddie Andrade prepares to drive on Eddie Guzman at Sequoia Park in Manteca during a one-on-one basketball game.

JASON CAMPBELL/209 Health & Wellness

POSTED September 19, 2012 12:33 a.m.

Before Jim Kervin had back surgery he needed a walker to get around.

All that has changed for the determined 65-year-old that now uses his two legs as his main source of transportation – whether it’s to get to the grocery store for supplies or the Manteca Senior Center for a quick cup of coffee.

And he has put less miles on his truck in eight years than most people do in just 12 months of routine driving.

“I started doing it just to get my balance and I just haven’t stopped,” he said. “I walk everywhere, and it’s a great way to get out there and see nature and the city and take everything in.”

It doesn’t hurt that his passion for the bi-pedal has helped improve his overall health and become contagious to others at the senior center that have followed his regimen and have started to see market improvements in their own health.

A recent checkup yielded outstanding results, he said, and impressed his doctor.

“He told me that I was going to die of something, but he just didn’t know what that was going to be,” he said with a chuckle. “He said everything looked good, and I owe all of that to walking.”

Hoops keep him fit

Eddie Andrade was a nightmare to guard when he prowled the hardwood at Sierra High School.

He was deadly from beyond the 3-point arc served a crucial cog in a potent offense that has become the program’s mainstay for the better part of the last decade.

But just because he’s no longer trying to get to first period on time doesn’t mean he still doesn’t love to lace ‘em up and hit the court to show the skills that he plans on keeping honed for as long as he possibly can.

“It’s just a sport that I’ve always loved playing,” he said. “I love shooting. And when you love doing something like that it’s not really working out when you’re out there on the court playing a game.”

Three or four times a week Andrade can be found on a basketball court somewhere in Manteca – whether it’s at a local fitness center or a park where people routinely show up to get in on pickup games.

The venue, he said, is of no consequence. It’s getting out on the court and doing what is that he loves that’s the sole focus.

“I’ll keep playing forever. It’s just that kind of a game for me,” he said. “I could come out here and just shoot for hours by myself. I’ve never been able to do that with anything else athletic.”

Wedding bells help him get in shape

Edgar Ayon had a good reason to be working up the best sweat that he could in a sauna suit during the hottest part of the day.

He’s getting married within the next month.

The local student said that he’s making a concerted effort to lose as much weight as possible before walking down the aisle to exchange nuptials – something that he knows his bride-to-be wholeheartedly appreciates.

And it’s something that he says he’s going to stick with.

After losing a large amount of weight before, Ayon said that he quit working out and eating right and gained most of it back and hopes that this current health kick will get him working down the right road once again – even if it means donning a rubber jacket in 100-degree weather.

“The hotter the better when you’re out there trying to do something like this,” he said. “It can make it a little bit uncomfortable, but if that’s your goal and you’re going to stick with it you have to deal with it.”

Realistically he’s shooting for 15 pounds since he started back with the road work last month and doesn’t plan on letting all of the sweat go to waste.

“I’ve been here before and it’s easier not to get back here,” he said. “It’s all about staying dedicated and focused on your goal. I want this right now.”

Anyone for fitness?

It wasn’t until Rick Ralston was 19-years-old that he picked up his first tennis racquet.

And he fell in love.

The combination of speed, adrenaline and fun had him hooked on the sport almost instantly, and he just recently returned back to the courts in an attempt to both get in shape and connect with a sport that he loves so dearly – even if it’s frustrating at times.

“It’s a hard game to stay away from,” he said. “It’s fun and it’s good exercise but it can sure be frustrating – especially when you’re coming up to make a play at the net. It can be extremely misleading up there.”

Ralston says that he tries to get to the tennis courts on Union Road a couple times a week to play in friendly pickup matches with a dedicated group that have become fast friends.

While his health is important to him, slaving away on a machine at the gym or standing on a treadmill doesn’t afford nearly the same level of satisfaction as hitting a drop shot or crossing up his opponent with a mean backhand.

“I like the camaraderie and the fact that a lot of them really love the sport,” he said. “It makes sticking with it that much easier. Plus I’ve been losing three or four pounds a day out here. It makes easier to stay when you can see that kind of result.”

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