Gym now free for the over 80s

Jacinta CantatoreHarvey-Waroona Reporter
Leachenault Leisure Centre members Elke Schulze, 80, and Arthur Linley, 81, wait in line for fellow Living Legend, 97-year-old Vanda Murray, to finish her resistance training.
Camera IconLeachenault Leisure Centre members Elke Schulze, 80, and Arthur Linley, 81, wait in line for fellow Living Legend, 97-year-old Vanda Murray, to finish her resistance training. Credit: Jacinta Cantatore

Harvey Shire Council has joined other South West councils in offering free gym and aquatics membership to people over 80.

The Leschenault Leisure Centre’s oldest member, 97-year-old Vanda Murray, said the free membership was a good opportunity for people who had never worked out at a gym before.

Mrs Murray has been working out at the centre three times a week for 12 years as part of the Living Legends program for over 50s.

“Everyone here is wonderful, it is a joy to come here,” Mrs Murray said.

“I would recommend it to anyone of any age.”

Mrs Murray claims her secret to a long and healthy life is “champagne and chocolate”, but added she only missed her thrice-weekly gym sessions when she had been in hospital for minor surgery.

“I guess I’ve been this way my whole life,” she said.

Arthur Linley, 81, said he enjoyed the social side of the workout sessions.

“When we all finish we have a cup of tea,” he said.

“You’re never on your own.”

He said trained fitness instructors help participants tailor resistance programs to suit their any mobility restrictions.

Centre manager Richard Duke said the centre already ran a number of programs to maintain and improve fitness and mobility and he hoped the free membership would boost the number of older members.

“It’s just as much for mental fitness as physical fitness,” Mr Duke said.

The centre also had an aquarobics class for older members and many participants took part in a weekly walking group.

“By offering free access to the facilities for over 80s we aim to increase the number of older people taking up or continuing physical exercise,” Mr Duke.

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