Posted On February 2, 2018 By In Top Stories With 313 Views

Fitness at Any Age: Health & Happiness at Every Stage


by Jo Barnes – 

I feel like a kid again. My back doesn’t hurt anymore. I’m in a good mood.

No, these are not paid testimonials from a chiropractor’s brochure; these are real comments from real people of all ages who have discovered the rewards of regular fitness.

Some want challenge or to improve their health; others want to be part of a community. But regardless of age or stage of life, all agree that regular exercise makes a huge difference.

Emily van der Kamp (30) started rowing six-and-a-half years ago after she returned from an extensive cycling trip through Europe and wanted to maintain the same level of physical activity.

“I’d been biking about six to eight hours a day and was looking for some kind of activity to do.”

An Occupational Therapist at Veterans Memorial Lodge at Broadmead, Emily enjoys indoor and outdoor rowing, weights, cycling and yoga. “It has a huge impact. It helps clear my head and keeps me calm. It helps me keep life in perspective.”

When asked for fitness tips, she replies: “Find an activity that you love to do or it’s just a chore. And, have an alternate activity. Find a community; others can help motivate you.”

Paul Macris, a 35-year-old real estate agent with Holmes Realty, grew up playing high level soccer. In 2010 he saw a form of fitness called CrossFit on You Tube and thought he’d try it.

“It’s a fitness regimen of constantly varied, functional movements, performed at high intensity.”

Paul welcomed a change from his normal routine. He works out for 30 to 60 minutes four to five times a week, which has led to rewards.

“I am able to face the challenges of life and work with confidence, knowing that I can overcome whatever obstacles are placed before me.” He suggests finding an activity you like and putting health first. “The benefits to your physical well-being far exceed the work required to improve your fitness capacity.”

Duncan Kenzie (59) is a retired software company owner. When his daughter expressed an interest in karate, Duncan decided to join her. Now 21 years later, he’s still practicing it three times a week at Puckett’s Noble House of Karate and teaching a class of seven- to 10-year-olds at Hastings Martial Arts in North Saanich.

“I enjoy both the fitness part of it and social aspect. I like the challenge of having specific goals to strive for in karate.”

Duncan finds karate brings rewards. “I come home feeling emotionally invigorated, in a good mood.”

He encourages others towards fitness: “If you’re feeling daunted by starting to do an exercise routine, take it one day at a time. Don’t worry about any limitations you might have; do what you’re capable of doing.”

Fabiola Owen is not your typical 71-year-old. She’s passionate about fitness and does a two-hour gym workout daily including dance aerobics, stretching and weights.

“I have a positive feel about life,” she laughs.

Despite a challenging upbringing in Colombia and dealing with other physical issues, Fabiola approaches life with a positive attitude and commits to her health.

“I spend good quality time in the gym. I work on what’s bothering me and resolve whatever issues I’m dealing with. I eat very well,” she shares. “My goal in life is to keep healthy!”

Does she have any tips?

“If you’re new to the gym and want to improve yourself, it’s a good idea to visit a fitness trainer.”

At age 94, Russ Redman is an inspiration when it comes to fitness. He works with local trainer Michelle Bourgeois, owner of Take 2 Personal Training.

“I go out to Michelle’s for an hour workout each Wednesday. The rest of the week is homework, lifting weights and stretching exercises.”

Russ works out an hour daily and has noticed the results.

“I am a diabetic. When I started regular exercise, my insulin intake dropped way down, about half. I do a set of exercises on a big inflated ball. My back doesn’t hurt anymore.”

With his trainer’s support and a tailor-made exercise regime, he’s reaping rewards.

“It makes me feel good. It has had a big effect on keeping me going.”

No matter your age, turn a page on fitness. The dividends are delightful.

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Your West Coast Culture. A magazine about the people and places that make the Saanich Peninsula the little piece of paradise we call home.

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