At 93: The Importance of Strength and Mobility

“As a personal trainer, I hear excuses every day as to why a person isn’t able to come to the gym or workout. I’ve used plenty of them myself. But for every one of those excuses, there is someone who has defied them. Bob Haynes is one of those people.

At 93, Bob is living proof that a lifetime of consistent activity can do wonders for a person both physically and mentally.

When I first started working with Bob five years ago I was nervous. He’d had several trainers before me with more specialized training than I have and I thought, “What in the world am I going to do with an 88 year old? What are we going to have to talk about? What if I break him?” It turns out, the answers were simple and I needn’t have worried.

For the most part, all I had to do with Bob was what I did with everyone else and modify as necessary. Over time, we’ve learned to trust each other. He trusts that the exercises I give him are beneficial and I trust that he will let me know if something is too much for him.

As a former rower, Bob has great posture and we work to maintain that. We’ve found a balance between what he calls “gorilla” workouts (strength) and the mobility and flexibility I want him to work on. By “balance” I mean he grumbles and I cajole, and sometimes vice versa.

It turns out, I also had nothing to fear about coming up with things to talk about. Over the years we’ve built up a rapport complete with inside jokes and good natured ribbing.

Bob often jokes that anyone working out around us must be entertained by our antics. Judging by the sideways glances and smiles I see from the other members, I’d have to say he’s right.

As for “breaking him”, that’s never been an issue. He’s tougher and more dedicated than anyone I’ve ever met. Although he’s had various set-backs over the years, he’s never lost his willingness to keep going or his sense of humor. For example, when he could no longer drive himself to the gym, he took a taxi back and forth twice a week in order to get to RVC. Talk about commitment!

Not only is Bob a great client, but he is also my friend. If you had told me five years ago that I would have an nonagenarian WWII vet as a friend I wouldn’t have believed you. But I’m sure glad I do. We hug at the end of every workout and he says “Love you, Babe.” I’m one lucky trainer.”

Personal Trainer, Amy Fortier

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