Posted by: Stephanie Tuck | June 22, 2014

Inspiration: 90-year-old gym goers. Keep it moving!

Shirley Works it Out!17mrghana_show-slide-0QU5-superJumbo

Credit Damon Winter/The New York Times

Hi everyone. A story on the cover of the NY Times today made me do a happy dance – check out this super-inspiring profile of a Ghanese-American bodybuilder who, with patience and kindness, trains folks in their 80’s and 90’s, and helps them regain mobility, strength, and a big ol’ sense of happiness. Nice work!

With his enormous muscles bulging beneath a small T-shirt, Martin Luther King Addo guided one of his most dedicated clients through a squat exercise inside his tiny Manhattan gym. “You can do it, Shirley,” he said.

Shirley Friedman, a silver-haired 90-year-old standing 4 feet 9 inches, shifted into another gear, bending at the knees for multiple repetitions.

“I never did this stuff before, but he gives you the confidence that you can do it, if you’re up to it,” Mrs. Friedman said afterward. “He’s not a phony. Got me?”

I want to be him when I’m older, seriously. Maybe I’ll be a gym volunteer!

Much has been said about exercise and aging, but it’s one of my favorite songs so I’ll hum a few bars: muscles and bones respond to exercise like a parched plant that has just been watered. They drink it up, and it’s never too late to get moving. NEVER. Check out this classic study from Tufts University – researchers introduced weight training to immobile patients at a retirement home and after a few months folks were up on their feet, dancing. Or look at my gal, Olga, who competes in track and field events at age 94. Amazing. On a more pragmatic note, if you want to fit in your skinny jeans for the long haul – and feel good in tank tops – work them muscles regularly. Nothing preserves muscle and health like exercise, and though you can rebound if you take say, a few years off, it’s always harder to come back than to maintain where you are. Keep exercising and you’ll stay strong throughout your life or put another way, get off the couch and you’ll stay off the couch.

Here’s a link to a touching video of Mr. Addo and Shirley. Love it.

Gotta run – off to Zumba (of course!). What are you doing to get your heart beating today? xxooSteph


  1. Love it!  I hope I’ll be a ro


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