An Indio man is being honored Thursday for helping others stay fit and healthy.
Art Preciado has made such an impact on hundreds of senior citizens. He was honored Thursday with an Senior Inspiration Award at a ceremony held at Westin Mission Hills in Rancho Mirage.
Preciado, 81, is a man in motion. His secret to a long life: exercise.
“As you get older, you begin to slow down. If you want to stay healthy and look halfway decent, you got to keep moving,” he says from his home.
Preciado is getting his message across to other seniors by leading them in exercise classes three times a week at the city’s senior center.
“He’s perfect!” exclaims Bob Cleveland, who began taking Preciado’s classes this year. “He just keeps us going. There’s no stopping. Take a deep breath and go on to the next exercise!”
Preciado began teaching classes more than five years ago. It began as a favor for a friend, who also taught these classes.
Preciado turned his healthy instruction into a lifelong hobby.
“Some people come up to me and say ‘I’ve heard about this exercise class. But, I didn’t want to come because I can’t lift my arms over my head — or my back hurts.’ I say you stick with the class, that’ll all go away.”
Preciado was unable to teach Thursday’s class — because of the awards ceremony — but at least a dozen of his students showed up at the senior center still exercising to his videotaped lessons.
A majority of his students are planning to attend the awards ceremony.
Preciado says his classes bring the best out of people. It gets them motivated, he says, and it’s like being part of a family.
His last name “Preciado” means “precious” or “appreciated” in Spanish. It’s quite a fitting name for a priceless man whose inspiration and strength is immeasurable.
Nearly a dozen other seniors in the Coachella Valley were honored Thursday. The 17th Annual Senior Inspiration Awards was presented by Riverside County Supervisor Roy Wilson.