Fourth in a series on this year’s Courier 8 Over 80 honorees.
CEDAR FALLS — Lana Hochreiter never slows down. Her life is always full-steam ahead.
At 80, she teaches spin classes for other seasoned citizens at the Cedar Falls Recreation Center. When the center closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, Hochreiter set up a spinning bike in her garage where she did daily high-intensity workouts while listening to her favorite music and gazing out into the yard.
She biked or walked on the nature trails, too, and did online classes three times a week. A passionate gardener, as well, she devoted hours to working in her yard. With restrictions being lifted, Hochreiter is looking forward to returning to her spin class. “I’m the oldest one in the class at the Rec Center, and it’s my third year teaching there.”
The energetic Cedar Falls octogenarian was chosen as one of the Courier’s Eight over 80 honorees for 2020.
“I’ve always enjoyed being active. When I was 42, a friend talked me into riding my first RAGBRAI. I’ve done 20 RAGBRAIs now,” she said.
In her late 60s, Hochreiter stepped up her physical fitness level in rowing, spinning and other exercise taught by Kay Cervetti. She achieved her goals and began teaching senior classes.
“Going to Kay’s classes really turned the corner for me, helped me make a new lifestyle for myself,” she recalls. Then, at 70, Hochreiter began slowing down and felt something was wrong. A cardiologist diagnosed her with two severely blocked arteries. Being so physically fit had saved her life – her heart had been able to push blood through, but she needed two stents. After three months in cardiac rehab, she was back to her energetic self. At 72, she became a certified spin instructor.
“I first met Lana when she was a volunteer spinning and rowing instructor. Lana has quite a heart story to tell. She has shared her story at Go Red events and has made a video for them. She has volunteered her time to hang out in cardiac rehab with clients. She still can be found decorating the room monthly for whatever holiday is close,” Donna Brown said in nominating her friend for the Courier award.
Hochreiter also works for Caring Transitions, a company that offers relocation, downsizing and estate liquidation services. “I’m very passionate about people who have to move from their homes and don’t want to do it. It takes patience and caring because the job has to be done. I’m old, and I can spend time talking to these people and hearing their stories and relate to what they’re saying,” she said.
Dave and Elaine Prail of Cedar Falls, who also nominated Hochreiter, offered 10 reasons to choose her as an 8 over 80 honoree. At the top of their list, “Lana is an encouraging person. She boosts your mood and gives one a positive outlook.” They also praised her spiritual growth and describe her as “a blessing to many people.”
A member of Nazareth Lutheran Church, Hochreiter has participated in Habitat for Humanity building projects, including a project last year with a half-dozen other women. “So much is needed. There is so much we can do to help others when we’re blessed to be able to do it.”
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Hochreiter volunteered with the church group to help in New Orleans for a month at a stretch over four years.
She also is performance chairman for the Sweet Adelines, volunteers at the Iowa State Fair, ushers at Waterloo Community Playhouse and Cedar Falls Community Theatre performances, sings in the choir and plays in the hand bell choir at her church, makes silk flower arrangements for cardiac rehab and much more.
In February, Hochreiter was presented Sertoma Club’s Service to Mankind award, honoring a non-member who has lived a life of service to the community. “That was a great way to start my 80th year,” she said, laughing.
When asked what she is most passionate about, Hochreiter puts her family at the top of the list. She has seven kids – Kim, Carla, Jane, Suzie, Darrell, Danny and Greg, 25 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
“Next to that, I’m honestly passionate about spinning, my yard, helping people downsize and relocate – I’m pretty passionate about that. I just have a really good life, and I’m very thankful and blessed.”
As for offering advice, Hochreiter said, “Find something really interesting and don’t give up because of your age. Keep moving, keep doing what you enjoy. Each day is a gift, and we can’t let them pass by without finding what fulfills us.”
‘Each day is a gift, and we can’t let them pass by without finding what fulfills us.’ — Lana Horchreiter
'Each day is a gift, and we can't let them pass by without finding what fulfills us.' -- Lana Horchreiter
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