Senior 'water warrior' preaches fitness

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by Cathy Marshall, KGW Staff

NWCN.com

Posted on January 10, 2014 at 7:21 AM

Updated Friday, Jan 10 at 7:21 AM

PORTLAND -- If you need motivation for your 2014 fitness resolution, you might find it at the East Portland Parks & Recreation pool.

Mary Hamilton, 71, is teaching water aerobics to seniors. “If you’re down in any way, you need a Mary Day,” said student Barbara Goyette.

Hamilton didn’t even learn to swim until the age of 32. “My four boys could swim and they would tease me that I couldn’t so I learned how to do that and ride a bike,” Hamilton remembered. She had worked for Portland Public Schools as an aide and at 55, retired and became a water instructor.

“It keeps my blood pressure regulated and gives me more flexibility,” she said.

Her students have learned that the benefits go well beyond physical changes.

“I was staying home and not ever seeing people and then I came here and it was light and bright. It’s been a great way to beat depression,” remarked Goyette.

This month, Mary is helping students become “Water Warriors."  The Portland Parks and Recreation program is in its 13th year.

During January, if you work out in the water 16 times at any of Portland’s 6 public pools you receive a “Water Warriors” T shirt. “It’s an extra bonus to motivate you to get in the water,” explained Hamilton.

Goyette already has Water Warrior status. She’s been coming to classes for two years, “I’ve lost 50 pounds and water aerobics is my only exercise,” she said.

This is Mary’s last chance to help her students kick off their New Year in the water.

“I’m retiring in May and oh, I will miss the people” she said with a smile, “We are like family.”

More: Portland Parks & Rec. Aquatics programs

 

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