Proving it’s never too late to try something new, Joan Platts decided to pick up exercise classes at the Canberra Seniors Centre when she was 70 years old and she hasn’t stopped since.
First it was a decade of Tai Chi, followed by a decade of Jazzercise.
Celebrating her 90th birthday in early December, Mrs Platts said she attends three classes at the Centre every week, plus fit ball and aerobics at a gym in Dickson.
“Apart from the exercise being wonderful, it’s the social aspect,” she said.
She looked around the table of seniors enjoying afternoon tea to celebrate her birthday on the lawn at the Centre.
“See, look at these people – they’re all my friends,” Mrs Platts smiled.
“If you live by yourself then it’s important to get out and be with people.
“And people who exercise are wonderful!”
One classmate Mrs Platts is particularly close to is Shirley Fowler; both women said they felt lucky their paths crossed on the dancefloor.
Jazzercise instructor Frances Weir said Mrs Platts set the bar for the rest of the class.
“I’ll demonstrate some routines and things, just for a bit of fun, and then Joan holds us to task!
“Don’t come here if you’re tired!” she said.
Mrs Fowler attested to her friend’s remarkable fitness.
“She can still run for the bus, too, ’cause I’ve seen her!”
Asked about the secret to a long life, Mrs Platts said to keep moving.
“I think you just keep going. Exercise and diet, too.
“Eat the right things, a Mediterranean sort of diet. That’s about all you can do.”
Classes were cancelled during lockdown in Canberra, and after spending a lot of time at home alone, where she lives by herself, Mrs Platts said the first class back felt like a reunion.
“Wednesday’s class is a strength class, which is wonderful – we use weights, and not so much dancing in that one.”
Mrs Platts said she had two left feet and that prior to starting Jazzercise she had never taken dance classes.
“But the dancing part is good for your brain, because we do quick moves and just when you’re getting used to one routine, Fran goes and changes it all!
“Sometimes when we’re doing arabesques and plié and things like that, I think we’d be able to apply for the ballet!”
When it came to the playlist, she said modern music wasn’t her favourite.
“But it doesn’t matter as long as you have a nice beat to keep to then that’s all you need.”
If you’re over 50 and would like to join in the activities at the Canberra Seniors Centre you can visit the website, www.canberraseniors.org.au, telephone Pat on 6248 9509, or call in at 10 Watson Street, Turner.