Richard "Rick" Burton remembers when the St. Peters Rec-Plex first opened in 1994. However, it took a retirement, a split heel, and a viral pandemic before he joined 26 years later.
Rick, age 62, retired a little under two years ago in 2019. About a year into his retirement, his plantar fascia ruptured, which gave him a hard time walking on his heel. Right before his surgery, Rick ran into another obstacle in his life: COVID-19. Due to the pandemic, his heel surgery was postponed until June 2020. After the operation, Rick caught COVID during the healing process, which set him back even further.
“I was pretty much just sitting in a chair. I could hardly walk,” said Rick. “COVID took my strength away … after I was well enough to get out of the house, walking to the mailbox was about it. I was exhausted.”
Rick began putting on weight due to his illness and difficulty moving his heel. He stopped weighing himself after reaching 306 lbs. After recovering from both surgery as well as COVID, Rick was determined to get back into shape. He started hiking, but when the winter weather arrived at the end of the year, he looked for other long-term alternatives to working out. That’s when he turned to the St. Peters Rec-Plex.
While aware of the Rec-Plex, Rick didn’t realize until the beginning of December 2020 that it was an affordable option for him as a St. Charles resident. Thanks to a parks agreement between St. Peters and St. Charles
, Rick receives the same rates at the Rec-Plex as a St. Peters resident, including the senior discount.
After joining, he’s now down 60 lbs., and has no intention to stop now.
“I’m seeing results,” said Rick. “The pant sizes are dropping, the belt’s getting more in. It’s really helped me.”
Rick enjoys the wealth of options available to him at the Rec-Plex: after some yoga stretches, he likes to vary his workouts with jump rope, dumbbells, or the balance ball. For more aerobic exercises, he walks the indoor track, rides the stationary bicycles, or performs water aerobics in the Natatorium.
The flexibility in hours is also a huge positive for Rick. In his retirement, Rick found work as a bus driver to pass the time, so he wanted a good way to spend those free hours between his shifts. Thanks to the Rec-Plex, he has the time to work out until the afternoon, then has lunch at City Centre Park just a short walk away from the Rec-Plex.
As someone who experienced and survived COVID first-hand, Rick is grateful to see all the work being done to keep the Rec-Plex a safe and sanitary place to work out.
“All the right signs are on the wall, and all the people that I’ve seen are doing the right things,” said Rick. “We’re social distancing … everybody is very conscious of wiping off any equipment that they use. I’m very impressed with it … and the staff is doing everything they can, and they’re doing a very good job, I give them an A+.”
Rick wholeheartedly recommends the Rec-Plex, and encourages other St. Charles residents to take advantage of its low rates.
“I love it,” said Rick. “I’m happy to be here, and I appreciate all the variety of things that I can do that are easier on my body, and it helps me get back my strength.”