Meet Edna, a 100-year-old fitness fanatic

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Until recent years, she did eight classes a week. She now does at least two tai chi classes and two freestyle aerobics classes that might include step moves, the kicks and punches of tae bo, weights sessions or floor exercises.

Sometimes she does a Zumba, Latin dance-style class. She is a member of the Hume ‘R’ Us Walkers club that exercises outdoors an hour a week.

‘It’s amazing’: Gym-goer Jimmi Isho meets 100-year-old Edna Sheppard.

‘It’s amazing’: Gym-goer Jimmi Isho meets 100-year-old Edna Sheppard.Credit:Jason South

When the gym closed for six months in 2020 because of COVID-19 restrictions, Mrs Sheppard did regular workouts at home. She does her own housework and gardening.

“You’ve got to keep going,” she said. “Sometimes I feel I want to sit down and relax. I do it for five minutes and say, ‘That’s it, off I go’ and move around again.”

Her advice to others is “keep moving as long as you can”.

“I know some people can’t do it, they’ve got bad legs and everything. But push yourself a little bit.”

Edna Sheppard and her friend, gym instructor Jan Ellis.

Edna Sheppard and her friend, gym instructor Jan Ellis. Credit:Jason South

Jan Ellis, 68, an aerobics instructor at Broadmeadows for 36 years, said Mrs Sheppard was like a mother to her and was a fitness inspiration.

“She’s always up the front of the class, so the members at the back, even the young ones, go ‘If that lady up the front can do it, we can do it’. She inspires them to keep going,” she said.

“She makes all the new ones welcome, goes up and has a chat to them. She’s a good little ambassador to inspire them to keep going.”

Ms Ellis said Mrs Sheppard was cheeky, loved to banter with the men at gym and would give the burliest blokes a hug. She said Mrs Sheppard was proof of the benefits of keeping active in old age.

The routines and counting required when doing workouts keep the brain active, too.

“If I could be like her at 100, I’d be amazed,” Ms Ellis said. “There’s nothing wrong with her brain or body.

“She’s fitter than some of the 50- or 40-year-olds in class. She’s got good co-ordination, flexibility and strength.”

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Hume City Council mayor Carly Moore said Mrs Sheppard was “an amazing role model” for health and fitness – “living proof that you can do anything if you put your mind to it” – and would inspire others to get active.

Gym-goer Jimmi Isho, who can chest-press 110 kilograms, said Mrs Sheppard’s efforts were amazing.

He said he had met people aged in their 50s who didn’t exercise and who “feel life is finished”.

“Hopefully I can get to this age and be still training,” he said. “Everyone has to be like her.”

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