By Liz Marchi
Ihave often said there are few days that go by in Montana that I don’t meet remarkable people. In Polson, I have had the great fortune of befriending a couple who are skiing black diamond runs, traveling, entertaining and tackling big projects although she is in her mid-80s and he just turned 90. She is one of the most fit and engaging women I have ever known. Despite a native dislike of exercise (not physical work) she is committed to a routine of Pilates and nutritional eating that keeps her muscles and joints fit for the many passions in life this couple shares.

This summer, I was lucky enough to work with their trainer on a weekly basis. It has been a remarkable experience. David Caselli is a first-generation American, born to a mother who grew up farming in Tuscany, Italy. He was raised in California and was a competitive freestyle skier. In his 20s, he suffered a severe back injury that resulted in constant pain for years. A serial and hardworking entrepreneur, he took a hiatus to Hawaii after selling his successful nightclub business in California. He began doing Pilates. One morning he woke up and realized that something was very different in his body. It took him some time to understand that he was, for the first time in years, pain free. From that moment on he has studied, worked and practiced a regime that reforms and strengthens the body. He is a certified Pilates master, therapeutic message therapist and graduate of a number of programs. It’s not David’s credentials that make him exceptional, it’s a gleam in his eye and a deep satisfaction he gets from teaching others how to be stronger and healthier.

The one thing everyone agrees on about life in their 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s is if you aren’t working on your core strength, flexibility and nutrition, you won’t have a very good quality of life. So whether you like it or not, self-care, good nutrition and a regular exercise regime must be at the top of our priorities. Many of us burned the candle at both ends for years juggling careers and family. Women especially struggle with putting themselves first in line for self-care.

Admittedly, I have struggled with regular exercise. We live 25 minutes from town and I am very physical, but my work with David has taught me the value of working with someone who has a deep understanding of muscles, skeleton, tension and strength. I am working out on a Pilates Reformer that isolates muscle sets and gives one the opportunity to connect mind and body for core strengthening. It’s almost like an experience in meditation to really focus on your body and mind connection. As we age, our bodies need regular focus to keep muscles long and lean. David says many men struggle with Pilates with its emphasis on balance, coordination and stretch. He is focused on body sculpting, not body building.

David has a deep passion for his work. His clientele has exploded over the last year and he has decided to move to Polson full time. How did he discover this little place? His mom, who clearly is a big inspiration in his life, wanted to move to a rural area for her later years and to be near an area with mineral waters. After extensive research, she decided to move to Hot Springs, where she lives and grows all her own vegetables. David began visiting her years ago and was more and more drawn to the area.

David is 64 but looks years younger and works 12-to-14-hour days. In addition, he is a musician and plays in two local bands. His advice: Mind – keep a positive outlook; Nutrition – 70 percent of health, eat well, eat clean; and Body – exercise. Find someone who inspires you if you are 60 or older and stay with a routine. It will be transforming.

Liz is fascinated by the various approaches to aging – from denial, to plastic surgery, to running marathons, to depression. Given our current demographics, Liz thinks there is a lot to explore, celebrate and learn from those living and aging in the Flathead Valley. Contact her at Liz@frontierangels.com.