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Age, pandemic not an excuse or barrier to exercise for Gallatin Valley septuagenarians

Posted at 10:57 AM, Jan 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-08 12:57:21-05

BOZEMAN — Is getting healthy part of your 2021 goals? Or maybe, are you using things like your circumstances or the pandemic as an excuse?

For inspiration, meet two ladies in their 70s who never miss a workout.

70-year-old Dee King laces up every day for her workout at the Gallatin Valley YMCA.

She says when the pandemic hit she never considered letting her physical health slip and there was no stopping her. No excuses is her attitude when it comes to physical fitness. She says the benefits outweigh the risk and she feels safe at the YMCA.

“I’m so thankful I’ve had a life of fitness inside and out,” said King.

72-year-old Sonny Davis agrees - she often joins via Zoom.

“When you get older and retire it’s very easy to sit back and not do anything,” said Davis. “Especially physical, but it provides a social outlet to see other people, provides camaraderie with others and at the same time I keep my body moving.”

Tasha Shaffer is a group fitness instructor and said she’s inspired by the pair.

“These guys that come in, they’re dedicated and they just come in and work their hearts out,” said Shaffer.

Shaffer said she’s proud of the dozens of guests over age 50 like Sonny and Dee that don’t let obstacles like age, technology, or a global pandemic keep them from being active.

“When I first started teaching Silver Sneakers, the classes when you get certified are not as hard,” said Shaffer. “When I first came here and started teaching them, they’re like, ‘It needs to be harder, harder.’ Every single class I feel like I’ve been upping the strength in there to make it to their level because they’re so strong.”

As for Dee and Sonny, they say the stamina they feel is a priceless reward and they hope to inspire others of any age to get fit.

“It’s really easy to just sit and do nothing all day and become a couch potato,” said Davis. “I feel like it’s my job responsibility now for my partner and for my family.”

“I feel like I can be an example for them,” said King.

Local doctors say they stand by CDC recommendations for adults 65 and older. Those include at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity such as brisk walking. At least 2 days of activities that strengthen muscles and activities to improve balance such as standing on one foot.

As for just a few of the benefits - longer life expectancy, improved brain health and reduces the risk of depression and anxiety.