95yo with right moves

year, when she was 94 years old, Sheila Hall be­came the star of her own pro­fes­sion­ally filmed ex­er­cise DVD, The Sheila Story.

Sunshine Coast Daily - Caloundra Weekly - - SENIORS LIFE - ALI­SON HOUS­TON To find out more about The Sheila Story DVD, con­tact Pa­tri­cia on 0431 791 946.

Sheila said it was just as well be­cause only weeks af­ter it was launched, she frac­tured her humerus, not to men­tion a cou­ple of ribs, and spent six weeks in hos­pi­tal.

The DVD meant the twice­weekly classes she has run for decades at Kin­cum­ber’s Brent­wood Vil­lage retirement com­mu­nity could go on with­out her.

And while she said it would take “a freight train” to stop her ex­er­cis­ing, even now Sheila runs the DVD be­hind her be­cause she still can’t raise her arm high enough to do her com­plete 45-minute ex­er­cise pro­gram.

But Sheila ad­mit­ted she hadn’t al­ways em­braced the idea of fame, how­ever small.

“It’s against my re­li­gion re­ally to want to show my­self off,” she laughed.

“But I de­cided, I can’t live for­ever, so this way the ex­er­cises could con­tinue to help peo­ple and maybe help other peo­ple out­side the vil­lage.”

Her goal from the start, she said, had al­ways been to help oth­ers see the ben­e­fits of ex­er­cise and max­imise their health and fit­ness po­ten­tial – and frankly, if I sound as good as Sheila when I’m 95, I’ll be happy!

It was fel­low res­i­dent Pa­tri­cia Cooke, 23 years Sheila’s ju­nior and with a sports train­ing back­ground who, hav­ing taken the classes her­self, iden­ti­fied the suit­abil­ity of Sheila’s worniors kout for all ages.

She sug­gested a Cen­tral Coast Coun­cil grant might make a DVD pos­si­ble and spread Sheila’s in­spi­ra­tion to oth­ers.

That is ex­actly what hap­pened, with Pa­tri­cia be­com­ing the project’s ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor and 1000 free DVDs made and dis­trib­uted to in­di­vid­u­als, seLAST cen­tres, clubs, li­braries, nurs­ing homes and other venues around the Coast.

“Sheila ex­er­cises and stretches your en­tire body from the top of your head to the bot­tom of your feet,” Pa­tri­cia said, adding that de­spite the age gap, she be­lieves Sheila still does the ex­er­cises bet­ter than she does.

“She re­ally keeps me mo­ti­vated,” she said.

Al­ways ac­tive, Sheila ex­plained, she had dis­cov­ered yoga af­ter a freak in­jury to her back in her early 40s and had trained as an in­struc­tor.

When she moved to Brent­wood Vil­lage with her hus­band in 1986, it wasn’t long be­fore she started a class there.

When the vil­lage’s pool opened, man­age­ment ap­proached her about adding an aqua aer­o­bics class.

She knew noth­ing about it, but set out to learn, and be­fore long had put to­gether her own pro­gram for the pool, which she taught for 17 years un­til a knee re­con­struc­tion put a stop to it.

Hav­ing de­cided in 2006 that the term ‘yoga’ was neg­a­tively in­flu­enc­ing peo­ple who didn’t feel they could do yoga-es­que con­tor­tions, and didn’t prop­erly re­flect Sheila’s uniquely crafted pro­gram, class mem­bers de­cided ‘Bend and Stretch’ was a bet­ter ti­tle, and so it was chris­tened.

While Sheila ad­mits last year’s fall “knocked the blazes out of me”, she’s also one deter­mined lady, does her own house and gar­den work and says she “couldn’t live with­out ex­er­cise”.

As for oth­ers calling her an in­spi­ra­tion, well “maybe”, she al­lows, but “if a 95-year-old can do these ex­er­cises with a bad back, af­ter break­ing a hip and a knee re­place­ment, 60- to 80year-olds def­i­nitely ought to be able to do them”.

Photo: ya­cobchuk

MOVE IT: Sheila is an in­spi­ra­tion to other se­niors who want to stay ac­tive.


FIT FOR LIFE: Sheila Hall teaches two ex­er­cises classes a week at 95 years of age and last year her DVD, The Sheila Story, had a lim­ited re­lease. She is also in­volved with Probus, Le­gacy and en­joys line danc­ing.

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