Finding any excuse to skip a workout is common for many people who often cite busy lives or family commitments as reasons not to squeeze in some exercise time.
However, those with the best excuses to skip some exercise and take it easy are also those who attend their workout sessions with the greatest regularity. They are also some of the oldest members of the Tom Taylor Family YMCA.
The majority of the Active Older Adults group at the Tom Taylor Family YMCA range in age between their 60s to 80s, but also boast a few members now in their 90s, according to group member Mary Buell.
This group plays an important role for these adults, not only offering them a structured place to exercise safely but also a place to socialize and a group of friends for support, said Chrissy Daily, a YMCA employee.
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“It’s really neat,” she said. “It gives them a great place to meet and be together.”
I wanted to teach children science. I think I was the first in Puget Sound to teach 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds science. And they loved it!
Olive “Aubie” Bell Reid
This socialization and friendship is what brought Key Peninsula resident Olive “Aubie” Bell Reid, 90, to the group after her husband, Sam, died several years ago.
“I love all my friends here,” Reid said, crediting the group for getting her out of bed every day.
Reid is the daughter of Episcopal preacher Arthur Bell, who came to Gig Harbor in the 1920s and was rector St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Tacoma.
“When I knew Gig Harbor it was one main street,” Reid explained. “All those old names on the streets, I knew them.”
Reid, who attended Annie Wright School in Tacoma, continued her education to be a doctor’s helper. After graduation she was unable to find a job in that field and went back to become a teacher.
“I wanted to teach children science,” she explained. “I think I was the first in Puget Sound to teach 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds science. And they loved it!”
I feel very comfortable here. It’s a nice warm feeling here. I haven’t met one person here who didn’t make me feel welcome.
Joining the Active Older Adult group group has met Reid’s need for socialization, and is also why Midge Slott, 91, attends the group with her daughter and 13-year-old dog, Susie.
“I feel very comfortable here,” Slott said. “It’s a nice warm feeling here. I haven’t met one person here who didn’t make me feel welcome.”
Along with the many potlucks and social events, Slott also participates in low-impact exercises using bands, balls and stretching.
“In other words, it’s for us old people,” she said, laughing. “It’s nice. It’s something to do.”
I figure that exercise is what got them to 90. You can’t just sit down and watch TV.
While Slott doesn’t have specific advice for others looking to reach their 90s, Reid states that having friends for socialization and support is an important factor in her life.
The socialization and exercise provided by the Active Older Adults group are both given equal importance by members for helping them maintain a high quality of life, especially by member Sandy Elkin, 88.
“I figure that exercise is what got them to 90,” Elkin said of his nonagenarian group members. “You can’t just sit down and watch TV.”
The Tom Taylor Family YMCA can be reached at (253) 853-9622 and is located at 10550 Harbor Hill Drive in Gig Harbor.