I’ve been attending the same gym for almost 20 years now and there are quite a few of us who are regulars, and we’re all getting older. We call our group ‘The Gym Family,’ and we number about 50. We all have a desire to keep fit and strong but I think some of us keep making the effort every Monday, Wednesday and Friday to enjoy the social interaction that ‘The Gym Family provides.
I started the concept of ‘The Gym Family’ years ago. It happened one day when I made a flippant comment to someone, something like, “Don’t let your gym work out interrupt your conversing.” I walked away thinking I’d made a joke only to be told later, “Do you know Janice the only time I have a chance talk to anybody is here.”
Upon hearing this I took it upon myself to introduce people who I learnt had similar interests and it just grew and grew and grew and now we really feel like a gym family. Sometimes as an older person the feeling of belonging can be missing. We all need to feel we belong and our Gym Family provides a warm and wonderful sense of belonging.
We have eight people now who are over 80 and I’d like to tell you about one of them who at the moment is very ill indeed but comes to the gym every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. This gym member is 85 years old. He always works hard and works out for three hours. He now has leukaemia, various melanomas which keep popping up and a hip joint which is now bone on bone. He’s due to have a hip replacement but can’t because, just when he was to have the operation another melanoma appeared which meant chemo-therapy and a further delay. With all that is happening he still comes to the gym. Now he needs a walking stick to help him get around while he waits until he can have the operation. On the bright side, because of his weight resistant training, his bone density is excellent. To me this man is the epitome of courage and commitment to exercise.