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Hitting weights, heavy bag great for White Rock seniors’ physical and mental health

Pair who are 80 and 90 plan to keep working out as long as they can
Sharon Young, 80, and Glen Pirie, 90, have kept themselves fit through weekly personal training sessions and plenty of walking in their White Rock neighbourhood. (Contributed photo)

Semiahmoo Peninsula personal trainer Kevin Reid likes to say that when it comes to working with older clients, “I dispense from the fountain of youth.”

When it comes to seniors Glen Pirie and Sharon Young, Reid’s claim would seem to have merit.

The White Rock couple first appeared in the pages of the Peace Arch News back in 2012 – along with Reid, who was training them both – back when Pirie was 80 and Young 70. Now, a decade later, they’re still at it.

“We really enjoy it,” Young said. “We took a bit of a break when Kevin had some (injuries) himself… but we tried some other things (to keep fit), but personal training was still the best fit for us.

“With (other options), it wasn’t the same as having someone right there, encouraging you. Kevin just knows us, and he modifies our (workouts) depending on any problems we’re having. I had a knee replacement 10 years ago, and he modified everything around that, while I did my recovery.”

Currently, Pirie is dealing with a health issue, and awaiting treatment, Young noted, and Reid has adjusted his once-a-week workouts to ensure he can continue staying active without aggravating his issue.

“He works around it. I just did 200 rowing squats on the Bosu ball,” Pirie noted.

“It helps him feel better mentally, too,” Young said of Glen’s regimen.

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In addition to their weekly sessions with Reid, the couple frequently walk up and down the hills near their uptown White Rock home. They’ve always been avid walkers, Young said, but it was a doctor’s suggestion a decade ago that they focus on strength training, too, that led them to Reid.

“I saw his van with his phone number on the side, and it said ‘Couples Training’ and that was it. We met him and signed up right away,” Young said.

“We knew it would help us, but we didn’t know exactly how beneficial it would be.”

It wasn’t long before both Young and Pirie noticed a difference. For Pirie, who once worked around asbestos, his chronic cough – described in the 2012 PAN article as ‘chest-rattling’ – lessened to the point that his lung doctor told him he no longer required annual visits.

And Young soon discovered improved muscle definition in her arms.

“I started showing off my muscles to everybody,” she laughed. “I was getting some muscle definition in my biceps. And it’s the same with Glen. His grandchildren were really proud of him when they’d see videos of him hitting the big (heavy) bag, and doing some boxing.”

Putting on some boxing gloves and hitting the heavy bag also proved to be a good outlet for both seniors, Young added.

“Back when we started, we were both going through a lot of stress, so it’s good to take that out on the bag – you can pretend it’s someone who’s ticking you off,” she laughed.

While they’ve cut back their sessions with Reid to once a week – prior to retiring, they trained with him two or three times weekly – neither plans to stop anytime soon.

“As long as I can do it, I’ll do it,” Glen said.

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