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.