Ginny Hoy, Wonder Woman

Ginny Hoy stretching at Basics Fitness Center

For the past 10 years, Ginny Hoy has been a faithful member of Basics Fitness Center in South Portland, Maine. She’d always been active playing golf and other sports and raising seven kids, which she says was a sport in itself.

When she joined Basics she was caring for her husband, who had dementia. She tried to get him to go with her, but he wouldn’t so she went alone.

It’s one of the few things I did because I didn’t dare leave him too long. It was really great. I made a lot of friends here. I started in a group and that’s kind of fun. When you’re in a group, you’re trying to keep up with them and they’re trying to keep up with you. And now I’m doing it one-on-one.

Ginny Hoy

Ginny’s routine has been modified over the years because she’s had a couple of heart attacks and recently developed some other health issues. It can happen when you’re 95 years old.

But neither illness nor age has stopped her from showing up and working out. She lives at 75 State Street, an independent and assisted living community in Portland and fortunately, they’re willing to drive her over twice a week.

Peter Allen helping Ginny

Ginny is also fortunate to be working with personal trainer Peter Allen, a seasoned pro who has been helping older people stay strong and fit for more than 30 years. He loves working with highly motivated people like Ginny.

It’s great to see results and to see how people respond to an injury or an illness and get back quickly. It’s also great to see them improve their quality of life. That’s really what we’re about. What we’re trying to do with older adults is improve quality of life.

Peter Allen/personal trainer/Basics Fitness Center

No matter what you may have going on in your life, Peter says it’s important to do what you can.

Because the opposite is not really the greatest answer in the world. It’s just sitting down and being sedentary. Ginny still does some cardiovascular exercise and works on balance, strength, and flexibility. That makes all other things easier. It’s what we try to do around here.

Peter Allen

Ginny may have had some heart attacks, but she’s convinced she wouldn’t have survived them if she hadn’t been working out all these years. You have to look at the risk and benefits of continuing to be active. What some people don’t realize is that you don’t usually have to give it all up.

You have to modify it in some way. Some people don’t like that — they want all or nothing. If it’s not a safety risk, I think they should continue to do what they’ve always done or I’ll modify it in some capacity to help them continue to be able to do it.

Peter

The biggest challenge is motivating people who would probably benefit a great deal from getting some exercise but are unwilling to even take the first step.

After 38 years of doing this, I haven’t figured that one out yet. The person has to want to exercise. I can facilitate it and help them out but they have to get here for me to do that. They can do a group class with other people, which is fun, or doing it with a friend can help, but they have to have the motivation to exercise.

Peter

The key is to find something you really enjoy. Right now, Ginny mostly enjoys riding an exercise bike. It’s a recumbent bike rather than an upright, which suits her just fine. She’d already finished her routine but was a good sport and indulged me for this short video.

Ginny likes the bike, but with Peter’s encouragement, she also does a few exercises she’d rather avoid, like sitting and standing several times in a row. She does them because she knows they make her stronger and when she’s done she feels really good about herself, which is another important benefit of staying active.

Ginny Hoy working out with Peter Allen

Peter says Ginny is like Wonder Woman.

He loves to say that. It’s very nice of him to call me Wonder Woman, but I’m just an ordinary woman

Ginny

Check out Basics Facebook page and you’ll find a picture of Ginny wearing her Wonder Woman cape. You’ll also find information about the Open House and Fitness Festival they’re hosting tomorrow, September 28th from 10-2.

Diane Atwood

About Diane Atwood

For more than 20 years, Diane was the health reporter on WCSH 6. Before that, a radiation therapist at Maine Medical Center and after, Manager of Marketing/PR at Mercy Hospital. She now hosts and produces the Catching Health podcast and writes the award-winning blog Catching Health with Diane Atwood.