Stay­ing fit at 90

Har­bour Grace res­i­dent a fix­ture in ex­er­cise group


Gwen Mor­ris is fairly plain­spo­ken when dis­cussing what she gets from work­ing out twice a week with her lo­cal ex­er­cise group.

“I think the ex­er­cise is good for me — I know it is. It keeps me on the move,” she told The Com­pass last week while tak­ing a break at St. Paul’s Church Hall in Har­bour Grace.

The 90-year-old Har­bour Grace res­i­dent has been work­ing out with the group led by Alice Blun­don for 10 years now. She first started work­ing out with an ex­er­cise group in Florida while stay­ing there with her late hus­band Frank in 1988.

“Af­ter Frank re­tired, we went to Florida for the win­ters … so I started to go to this down there. We were lucky enough to have a New­found­lan­der in charge of that,” she said with a laugh, not­ing the in­struc­tor re­mains her friend.

Stretch­ing out along­side dozens of oth­ers, Mor­ris makes good use of her time at the church hall.

We don’t moan and groan when we look across the room to see Gwen stretch­ing and lift­ing her legs and arms and us­ing her weights. Alice Blun­don

“They ex­er­cise ev­ery part of your body, so it’s a good ex­er­cise,” she said.

Ev­ery­one goes at their own pace, so there’s no pres­sure to keep up with folks a few decades younger. She used to lift small weights dur­ing work­outs, but her wrists find that sort of ac­tiv­ity too stress­ful.

The ex­er­cise group also has two mem­bers in their mid-eight­ies, and just about ev­ery­one in­volved is re­tired. Some come through physi­cian or phys­io­ther­a­pist re­fer­rals.

“They’re all well. I think we re­ally be­lieve if you don’t use it, you lose it,” said Blun­don. Sur­prise birth­day party On Feb. 2, Mor­ris cel­e­brated her 90th birth­day. It just so hap­pened to co­in­cide with her Tues­day ses­sion (the group also meets on Thurs­days), so her friends in the ex­er­cise group de­cided it would only make sense to have a party.

“She’s been com­ing for 10 years twice a week,” said Blun­don. “It’s al­most like a fam­ily cel­e­bra­tion then. So it was very im­por­tant. And the girls went all out to make it a spe­cial day for her.”

Mor­ris didn’t sus­pect a thing. Fam­ily and friends were on hand, as was her clergy and MHA Pam Par­sons.

“I think it’s amaz­ing,” Mor­ris said. “I like to be among peo­ple, whether it’s church groups or what­ever. I like to get in­volved wher­ever I can.”

The new nona­ge­nar­ian hopes to stick with the group for as long as she can man­age. “So far, so good.” Blun­don says the rest of the group can’t help but look up to her a lit­tle bit.

“We don’t moan and groan when we look across the room to see Gwen stretch­ing and lift­ing her legs and arms and us­ing her weights. She’s def­i­nitely been an in­spi­ra­tion for all of us.”


Mem­bers of Gwen Mor­ris’ ex­er­cise group sur­prised the Har­bour Grace res­i­dent with a party to cel­e­brate her 90th birth­day Feb. 2.


The co-or­di­na­tor for the ex­er­cise group that meets at St. Paul’s Church Hall twice a week told The Com­pass Gwen Mor­ris in­spires ev­ery­one.


Gwen Mor­ris works out sport­ing a birth­day girl sash.

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