Art of Aging: 91-year-old woman says exercise pays off

SECANE, Pa. SECANE, Pa. (WPVI) -- Warmer weather often entices people to get outdoors for some exercise, but a 91-year-old Upper Darby Township resident believes consistency in her workout routine is the key to her good health.

Vema Palmer has been a member of the Ridley Branch of the YMCA for 19 years.

"I came here February 21, 2000," she said.

Her fitness journey started in her retirement years with a yoga class in her church basement, but the instructor's advice stuck with her.

"And he suggested that perhaps I should get involved at the Y with machines and I enjoyed it, and I'm addicted," said Palmer.

Palmer makes an effort to get to the gym about four times a week.

"If I don't get here, I feel guilty," she laughs.

Her regular routine lasts an hour to an hour and a half each session.

"But I use the treadmill first and then I just go around," said Palmer.

Palmer uses about 10 machines, but one stands out.

She said, "I like the row machine that's my favorite."

Palmer encourages others not to be intimidated if they are thinking of starting a fitness plan. There is support.

"The staff here right away is ready to help you. When I first came in I knew nothing about the machines, and so I was taken around and shown how to use each one," said Palmer.

Since then, Palmer has become an expected face around the gym.

Ridley Branch Director Vera Picone said, "If she doesn't show up, someone at my front desk will be calling her house to find out where she is. She's amazing and she is dedicated."

Palmer says her commitment is worth it. Exercise keeps her diabetes in check and adds to her overall quality of life.

"I just feel good. You get your blood circulating which is healthy for your heart. You should try it," she laughs.
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