Working Out

Dec 14, 2008 | December 2008, Fitness

Helps Keep Elf in Good Health

By Bonny Osterhage

With the holidays upon us, you might wonder how an elf stays in shape. If that elf is Elf Louise, the answer is through determination and a refusal to ever give up.

Beautiful and generous 59-year-old Louise Locker, better known to the community as Elf Louise, lives a full and active life. When she is not busy making Christmas dreams come true for thousands of underprivileged children in San Antonio, she is working as psychotherapist and life coach. Such commitments require boundless energy, which this vivacious redhead has in spades — but that wasn’t always the case.

A fan of tennis and racquetball, Locker enjoyed playing team sports through college. But after an injury when she was 7 1/2 months pregnant left her with chronic disc problems, that lifestyle took a drastic turn.

“I went from being extremely active to having even the slightest movement setting off disc pain that shot down my legs,” she recalls.

Things only got worse as Locker began to suffer from degenerative disc disease, acute arthritis and even atrial fibrillation that, three months ago, required a surgical procedure.

Not one to be deterred, Locker looked for ways to alleviate her pain and stay in shape. She opened a Curves fitness center in Alamo Heights with the idea of not only helping herself but helping others for whom exercise was difficult.

“I thought I would be a good motivator,” she explains of her decision.

After four years, Locker made the difficult decision to sell Curves in January 2008. “My arthritis had gotten so bad over the past couple of years that even my physical therapy was getting difficult,” she recalls.

But with the same determination that has driven her to success in every other area of her life, Locker simply refused to accept defeat. Instead, she joined the Spectrum Health Club, hired a trainer with a background in rehabilitation and began taking baby steps on the road to better health.

“The first question my trainer asked was ‘What are your goals?’ I told her my first one was to simply be able to show up,” she chuckles. “I just wanted to improve enough to be able to keep coming.”

Today, Locker spends 2-3 days per week in the gym lifting light weights and participating in low-impact aerobic activities. Her goal is not results, but actions.

“Happy people plan actions, not results because you have more control over your actions than you do over the results of those actions,” she explains of her philosophy.

She also never look back but continues to look forward, doing the best she can and giving herself credit for simply making the effort.

South Texas Fitness & Health