Aging population stays flexible and strong by keeping active
May 19, 2009 · Updated 11:17 PM
Bill Monten was finishing up his weight-lifting routine at the Enumclaw Fitness Center Thursday morning.
Each morning, five days a week, for about an hour, the Enumclaw resident hoofs it up the stairs and works his upper and lower body through the circuit. He says he’s not there to be a muscle man, he just comes to stretch.
“I wasn’t looking to build muscle,” he said of his almost four-decade habit. “I just wanted to keep what I had in good condition.”
Monten will celebrate his 90th birthday in July.
He’s not alone in his workout. Across the Plateau the aging population is walking the Foothills Trail, climbing Mount Peak, swimming, trying yoga and pilates, swinging a tennis racket or golf club and joining Monten at the gym.
“There are certain things necessary for longevity,” he said. “Exercise, good eating, sleep and keeping your stress at a minimum.”
“We have a really big senior population,” Enumclaw Fitness Center’s Jaclyn Van Hoof said, mentioning about 25 to 30 percent of the fitness center’s participants fit the definition of senior citizen. Many, she said, come to exercise in the various classes that target their needs. “I had a lady sign up recently, she’s 95. She was born in 1914.”
Monten, who owned a dairy farm in the Veazie area in the 1960s and was later a truck driver, said his wife and daughter-in-law talked him into working out.
“I found out it was a lot of fun,” he said.
That was a number of years ago. The fitness facility has changed names and ownership, but Monten has been working out there for, he estimates, 37 years.
“Bill and Joan have been lifers here,” VanHoof said.
“She always finishes before him.”
That might be because Monten takes time to visit while he’s pumping iron.
“It’s a good social area, too,” he said. “The people are wonderful. I enjoy it here.”
He enjoys Enumclaw as well; it’s the people he said, that originally drew him here and kept him coming back.
“People help you,” he said. “That’s the way we did it when we were kids in the Depression, neighbors helping neighbors.”
Monten said for years after he retired, he and his wife enjoyed traveling the world. Now, he’d still like to travel, but he’s content working his way around the weight room.
He said his asthma slows him some and he’s also had some knee and heart surgery.
“Up until a year ago, I was pretty spry,” he smiles. “I’m hoping to hit the 90 mark and beyond. It’s nice to think I’ll be able to do this at 100.”
Reach Brenda Sexton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-802-8206.