Leading the Exercise Class at Age 89!

September 2012

Peggy Whitney participated in the Young-at-Heart exercise class at the Yarmouth Senior Center for years when in 1980 the instructor decided to retire. When the class asked “who’s going to teach the class now,” the instructor said “Peggy is.”

“That was the first I heard about it,” chuckles Peggy. “But I thought, sure why not” and she’s been teaching ever since. At age 89, she credits the class itself in keeping her going. She coaches all her students to keep your body moving, keep your mind busy, get outside and eat right.

“I pay no attention to age,” she says, “it’s just a number.” There are a few students in class into their 90’s and still going strong. According to Peggy, it’s all about staying fit and keeping the blood flowing. Her biggest challenge is convincing people they need to do this for themselves.

Born in England, Peggy joined the Women’s Royal Air Force at age 17 ½, and survived the constant bombings of London during WWII. She married and moved to the US 40 years ago and “found” Cape Cod almost by accident during a visit to New England. She knew this is where they should retire and has never regretted it.

The Young at Heart/PACE (People with Arthritis Can Exercise) exercise program is a combination of weight training for muscle strength, aerobic exercise for heart strength, endurance and calisthenics (stretching, bending & twisting) for flexibility.

Ideal for older adults, the program is a collaboration between the Visiting Nurse Association of Cape Cod, the Massachusetts Chapter of the Arthritis Foundation and many community sites throughout the Cape. The class is offered at the local senior centers by instructors specially certified by the Arthritis Foundation. Each session runs for 10 weeks with classes meeting for an hour twice a week. There is a low cost fee and a doctor’s approval is necessary prior to participation. Classes are currently being held by trained instructors at 13 Cape wide locations.

For more information, to enroll or observe a class, call the Visiting Nurse Association of Cape Cod at 1-800-631-3900.