“Although she has given up some of her interests, attending the Kori Kaumatua exercise class isn’t one of them”, said Otaki’s ‘speed queen’ Jean Young, at her 91st birthday celebration.
She walks, with the aid of a walker and at a fast pace, to Nga Purapura for the twice weekly hour long class of gentle aerobic type exercise and dance, which includes Zumba and line dance. Mrs Young joins in every part of the programme, using her walker for balance at times and always has a smile.
Why speed queen — just watch her sprightly pace as she walks to the Main Street shopping centre or down to class, those walkers aka zimmer frames, she ‘zims’ hers along!
“I like walking,” she said. “When you’re walking you meet people and talk.”
She joined the class soon after it began almost four years ago “I needed to get fit” after two hip replacements and a frozen shoulder. But Mrs Young still lives in her own home and enjoys doing a bit of gardening; at one time she was the “Mah-jong Queen” but doesn’t play now.
Arriving in Otaki with her family as a young child, she left school in standard six (year eight) so had no secondary schooling.
“I’ve been very lucky — I’ve had no illnesses, just accidents!” she laughed. She has always been a keen gardener and knitter and loves chocolate, rugby and the gym — Tuesday and Thursday mornings are her favourite times of the week.
The class celebrated with a surprise morning tea on May 14 (May 15 is her birthday), with a birthday cake and candles.