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Exercising Through a Northeast Iowa Winter
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Exercising Through a Northeast Iowa Winter

FAYETTE – Retired farmer and laborer Ken Gosse hasn't let the diagnosis of diabetes get him down.

Gosse farmed in Buchanan County earlier in life, and then went to work for Collins Radio in Cedar Rapids for the next twenty years. The last seven years before he retired, Ken was employed by Iowa Ham in Independence.

Now, at 77 years of age, Gosse walks with a cane to steady himself. But that doesn't keep him from getting the recommended thirty minutes of exercise his doctor suggests, three times a week.

Now a resident of West Union, Gosse's PT cruiser is a familiar site in the Volga River Recreation Area where he does his walking. Depending on the weather, Ken parks his car in either the RV or equestrian campgrounds and then walks on the concrete road for 30 minutes. (In winter months, county plows don't clear the equestrian campground loop, but do remove snow on the road leading to the area, and the sledding area, at the end of Hill Road.)

The distance of Ken's walks doesn't matter, he says, as long as he gets the exercise suggested by his physician at Gundersen Clinic in West Union. Maybe it's because he was used to working outdoors as a farmer, or perhaps he's just a hardy soul, but even when the mercury in the thermometer dips into the twenties, Gosse isn't daunted. As long as temperatures are above twenty degrees, he can be found in the park getting exercise and fresh air.

"You get tired of the TV, and it's nice to get outside," he says. "Just sitting around is what I don't need," he says of being a Type II diabetic.

When he was first diagnosed, Gosse said he took the pills he was prescribed, but eventually realized he could control his condition with diet, exercise and regularly monitoring his blood sugar. Although he tried walking in West Union, there was just too much traffic. The peace and quiet of the state rec area, he says, is preferable to the shoulders of the town's busy streets and highways.

When he isn't walking and nodding 'hello' to other recreation enthusiasts in the park, the retiree enjoys crossword puzzles and reading.


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