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When Glenna Brown’s husband became ill, she found that regular exercise at a nearby studio helped her deal with the stress and remain strong enough to be a good caregiver.
When he died, Glenna (on the left above) found more: a loving support group that helped her through her loss, and a new friend who was going through a similar experience.
That was Shirley Nunez, whose husband passed in 2020. The two became fast buddies, working out together, socializing, and even traveling.
“I saw Glenna working out and said, ‘I want to be like her,’” says Shirley (above, right). “She’s been my lifesaver and just everything.
Their story proves the power of working out with other people at a studio or gym. Social support, accountability and friendliness are crucial for older people trying to get in shape or stay in shape.
A Circle of Reinforcement
After 50 or so, many people find their lives change in ways that can lead to isolation and loneliness. They might stop working. Children might be grown and far away. Spouses might be gone.
As we learned from the pandemic, group settings for fitness are ideal for breaking that dangerous cycle. They provide more ways to exercise and more ways to be social. And both those tings improve our physical and mental health in countless ways.
The social component is big at Evolution Fitness and Wellness, where Glenna and Shirley met. We feel so committed to the community aspect at EFW that we've appointed an Event Coordinator and have done everything from a group 5K in LaGrange to hosting pancakes and coffee to honor Veterans to Bingo, movie nights, and more. Clients have developed relationships outside of EFW that have included couples dinners with spouses to renting AirBnB's and traveling.
Support Helps Build Positive Changes
For Glenna, 74, steadily building healthy habits – exercise, eating right -- helped her lose more than 80 pounds. She’s committed to staying strong for her great-grandchildren. “I can get down on the floor and play with them. I can hold them, I can pick them up.”
For Shirley, who turns 65 in August, the exercise has lowered her pain, given her strength, and improved her posture. “It’s just been amazing,” she says. She credits working with a small-group trainer who offers guidance and correction on her form.
The pals motivate each other at the gym – and outside of it. They have turned their attention to “bucket list” items. This year, they went to New York City together, a first for both, to see the sights.
“One day we walked 10 miles,” Glenna said, proud to be strong enough for such fun. “That’s not for the faint of heart.”
Next up? A Hawaii cruise in 2023-
You can’t stop this dynamic duo!
PS: Here are a few ways we can help you work toward optimal longevity
1: Request a copy of my book Optimal Longevity: A plan for remaining stronger longer
2: Schedule your personal, free functional movement assessment.
We specialise in fitness and wellness for active aging adults over 45.