Fitness

Senior strength: 97-year-old fitness buff inspires on Instagram

March 26, 2014 at 1:55 PM ET

"Mind over matter" isn’t just some old platitude — it’s very real. For indisputable evidence, look no further than a 97-year-old known simply as "Edna" in Scottsdale, Arizona, whose determination to tackle a physical fitness regime is leading to some hard-earned fame, now that Instagram videos of her tenacious workouts are capturing worldwide attention.

Edna’s trainer Anton Mackey told TODAY.com that the senior has trained with him and FitLife fitness center owner John Neel on a twice-weekly basis for close to the past decade — meaning she was already approaching 90 when she got started. And she hasn’t slowed down since.

"She is a huge inspiration for other clients, and all people lacking motivation,” Mackey told TODAY.com.

Inspired himself by Edna's passion for fitness, Mackey’s been posting Instagram videos of his determined client during her workouts — and people around the world have taken notice, falling in love with her enthusiasm and drive, and gushing their support in the comments.

In one video with more than 600 views, Edna sits confidently on a balance ball, smiling at the camera as she works her muscles using resistance bands. “She’s my role model,” wrote one commenter. “Imma start power lifting with a smile on my face,” wrote another.

In another video shared by fellow trainer Caitlin Turner that now has close to 8,000 likes, Mackey takes Edna through a squat workout — which she accomplishes in style, clad in a pair of pink animal-printed leggings. “No excuses. Go hard or go home,” wrote one commenter.

Taking a break from the hard work of fitness training, another video shows Mackey asking Edna to share any words of wisdom about the meaning of life. At nearly the century mark, she says it's “to be as present and productive as possible.” 

"She truly inspires others to stay active and that's why she's a hit on Instagram," Mackey said. 

For other contemporaries of Edna who may wish to get in the game after seeing her example, Mackey said the key is balance. Older seniors should, "work on functional movements such as step-ups, side steps and squats. It's also important to do light resistance training to keep bones and muscles strong.”

“Movement is what keeps us going," said Mackey. "Our bodies are made to move, and the old adage is true: If you don't use it, you lose it!”

Alesandra Dubin is a Los Angeles-based writer and the founder of home and travel blog Homebody in Motion. Follow her on FacebookGoogle+ and Twitter.

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