Monday, May 20, 2024

Eighty-three-year-old fitness instructor not planning on slowing down soon | Berea Mail

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IF you somehow never got around to your New Year’s resolution of keeping fit when the year started, there is still time. As we start the second quarter of the year, here is a reminder of why it is important to keep your body fit and active.

Susanne Henriksen is an 83-year-old mother of three, grandmother of five and a fitness instructor. Henriksen, who is an independent resident at Bill Buchanan Association for the Aged in Morningside, describes herself as someone who has always been a fitness bunny.

“My parents were avid cyclists and very athletic, so from a very young age, I got used to keeping fit and saw, from my parents, the significance of leading an active lifestyle. Which is why, even at 83, my body is still very flexible and as fit as it was [when I was younger],” said Henriksen.

Susanne Henriksen doing stretches that she teaches her classes. Photo: Ayanda Zulu

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Henriksen became a fitness instructor twelve years ago. She says it started with just a group of her close friends. “My friends noticed how I always made time for exercising and how it made me happy. Soon they joined me, and I assisted them with their workouts, and it quickly became a part of their lifestyles. But everything changed in 2020 when the Covid-19 restrictions prevented gatherings and going out,” added Henriksen.

However, Henriksen says she continued keeping fit during the lockdown, and after moving to Bill Buchanan Association for the Aged, many residents showed interest in joining her fitness classes, and that’s why she now has three classes a week there, on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays.

“On Mondays, I have my frail-care classes which consist of the ill and elderly. I take my time with them as they are more sensitive and slower, and I always encourage them to keep moving as it is good for the heart,” said Henriksen.

The 83-year-old grandmother says that she not only keeps fit but she watches what she eats, as well, as that also plays a vital role in keeping healthy. “I watch what I eat – health is wealth – but I do love a good shisa nyama once in a while. My husband and I used to love finding places that had the best steaks around Durban,” she said.

Susanne Henriksen says keeping fit is important. Photo: Ayanda Zulu

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Henriksen has been married for 63 years to her husband, Erling, whom she met through her parents as he was a young cyclist at their social club. The pair will celebrate their anniversary later this year.

Henriksen encourages people to be active in their lives as it is most beneficial. She believes that people must keep active, which helps keep the body fit and the heart pumping longer. Even at her age, her body is still active and mobile, which is why she exercises at every chance she gets.

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