Find out how she redefines ageing
Name: Marion Keane
Club: Goodlife Chermside
I decided to make health and fitness a priority when my psychologist suggested I join a group activity to help relieve some of my stress. At the time, I was the full-time carer for my husband who had been battling Parkinson’s disease for twenty years and looking back, I can see the enormous pressure I was under, both mentally and physically. Joining a gym allowed me to not only concentrate on my own health, but also socialise with like-minded people.
After training for a little while, I was given a renewed sense of strength. I could push my husband around in his wheelchair, I could help him get out of the car and in and out of bed. Most importantly, I could be mentally strong for his own deteriorating health.
I’ve been a member of Goodlife for 11 years now and initially I enjoyed training on my own while meeting new members during classes and then for coffee afterwards. However in February 2012, I started personal training to gain some new techniques and tools, but even after seeing some great results I did find I was losing some motivation, as I’m sure many people do.
"I feel stronger now than I ever have in my whole life."
I was thinking about throwing in the towel, but in May of that year my trainer suggested I give powerlifting a go – he said it would help keep me strong and mix up my workouts. At the time, I didn’t even know what it was, but my trainer was persistent. Well, I’ve been powerlifting for over three years now and it is something I don’t see myself ever stopping.
While most people’s competitive streak tends to fade with age, mine has not dimmed. I entered and won a weightlifting competition in 2013 where I took home Australian record certificates for a 45kg bench press, 50kg squat and 90kg deadlift. Then at the 2014 INBA Titles, I completed a deadlift presentation of 105.4kg, which was close to the world record of 112kg! This year, I am training towards beating my previous records.
Not happy with simply sitting on the sidelines, my passion for fitness saw me recently become a qualified personal trainer. I was the oldest student at the Australian Institute of Personal Trainers to complete the course and it really helped me gain a greater understanding of the body and our movements. I feel stronger now than I ever have in my whole life and joining the gym has certainly helped me turn back the clock. This was something I wanted to pass on to others and once I graduated, I recruited three clients – all aged over 65 – and designed programs, based on my own experience, to help them achieve significant weight loss and increased strength.
The biggest factor for me to keep training is to maintain my independence. I regularly catch up with my primary school friends and I see their own journeys through hip replacements, knee surgery, emphysema and other ongoing health problems. For me, I really believe that fitness helps keep my mind and body in check and the medical bills down. I am a widow now, I live alone and I still run my own business, so I never want to lose my ability to maintain my lifestyle. I saw what my husband went through in aged care and I don’t want to spend my final days there.
I train five days a week and it gives me the energy to face my day. I wake up early and head straight to the gym at 5:30am. While I am there, I can really live in that moment, thinking of nothing else. It is an hour of pure ‘me’ time and I am always left feeling so energised.
Looking back, I see that making the decision to join the gym was a real ‘sliding doors’ moment for me. It was all about choice. Every choice leads to some action or reaction and I know that if I hadn’t made that decision that day to put my health and fitness first, I wouldn’t feel so full of vitality and life now.
"My advice? Don’t age before your time."
I hope that people can see and understand that age is no barrier. I enjoy chatting with the younger club members who tell me I am their inspiration, that I am their benchmark. I really feel that if I can do it, anyone can.
My advice? Don’t age before your time. Adapt your exercise to suit your needs. Then pick up that kettlebell or jump on a treadmill – it’s your choice what path you want to take. Staying fit and healthy is more than just physical, it is mental too.