Bike riders give SCW man new lease on life - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Valley And State

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Bike riders give SCW man new lease on life

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Posted: Wednesday, January 19, 2011 4:45 pm

Jim Ball found a lifesaving lifestyle change when he moved to Sun City West late last summer.

He started riding his bicycle every morning with the Crestview Riders and in four months, Ball has lost almost 65 pounds, slimming down from 272.

“Being a part of this club has helped save my life,” Ball said.

Ball decided to join the Crestview Riders after living in Sun City West for a couple of weeks. He used to ride a bicycle with his family twice a month but not daily.

The former California resident, who worked as a Lexus serviceman, then sought out a friend, who was a nutritionist, helping him figure out the right food to eat, and he balanced it with his bike rides.

As he rode his bike with the club for one hour five days a week, Ball watched as his weight shrank on a daily basis. He even noticed the decrease of his blood pressure and cholesterol level when he began the routine with the group.

But he doesn’t mistake his exercise as merely part of a diet.

“This is a lifestyle change for me, and I’m very happy with the way things have turned out so far,” Ball said.

Tamara Thornburg, a physical therapist at Banner Thunderbird Medical Center, said Ball took all of the right steps to guarantee success.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, people should have at least 30 minutes of exercise daily and 50 minutes if it’s for weight loss.

“Any type of exercise, especially if it’s riding a bicycle, is so beneficial and reduces many major health risks and that’s particularly important for seniors,” Thornburg said.

Ron Van Camp, president of the Crestview Riders, said there are 85 members in the club who ride in two to three different groups a day for one hour. In addition, the group also has weekend rides that include trips to Wickenburg and back.

Van Camp said he considers Ball the most improved rider.

“I remember when he first started and had a hard time going 10 miles and now look at him,” said Van Camp. “He is such an inspiration to everyone.”

Along with exercise, Ball said the Crestview Riders have been supportive during his weight loss.

“It’s been just like a big support group and family,” Ball said. “I’m so glad that I discovered them because I’m a lot healthier now.”

He’s also had the opportunity to play other sports now that he’s lost the weight.

“I was playing softball not too long ago, and I never thought I’d be able do that,” Ball said.

For information, go to and click Crestview Riders.

Mitchell Vantrease can be reached at 876-2526 or

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