Olivia's charges living fit

Active April challenge gets seniors moving, happy and fit


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Feeling fantastic: Mary Louttit (left and Amber Bodycoat share a smile during their weekly fitness class.

Feeling fantastic: Mary Louttit (left and Amber Bodycoat share a smile during their weekly fitness class.

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From having not been sporty at all, these Melbourne women now revel in their workouts.

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As Victorians of all ages are gear up for a month of activity, fitness instructor Olivia Sleep has her seniors’ classes signed up to tackle the Active April challenge head-on.

At 39, Olivia, who runs LivFit, trains people of all ages and says her seniors classes at Mount Eliza, Frankston and Cheltenham, are amazing.

“My mum actually started the classes 27 years ago, and I love taking them now. Participants are aged between their mid-50s and their 90s – they are so fit and healthy,” she said.

“It’s so rewarding, they give me a lot back and you can see in their eyes that they get so much out of the classes – physically and socially.”

Mary Louttit, 78, joined her class about four years ago.

“We do a warm-up, aerobics, boxing, weights and ball handling and finish up with relaxation. You feel fantastic after it,” she said.

“The music’s boppy, and everyone chooses to be there – it helps you so much physically and mentally. The endorphins kick in when you’re exercising, I just love it.

“My husband was sporty and my son played football with Melbourne – but I was a shocker at sport when I was younger. I did competitive dancing, though, and that really helps with my rhythm.”

About 30 people attend Mary’s class and she said the social contact is important.

“It’s easy for people to become disconnected when they’re older, but we have great fun – age is just an attitude, and we don’t think we’re old."

A WHOLE DIFFERENT GAME: Olivia Sleep, Amber and Mary limber up.

A WHOLE DIFFERENT GAME: Olivia Sleep, Amber and Mary limber up.

Amber Bodycoat, who is in her early 70s, agrees. “It’s so warm and friendly. It’s a serious program, but we do have a few laughs," she said. 

“For me, it’s amazing how much keeping fit helps with the practical aspects of daily life – like gardening and looking after the grandchildren.

“The exercises are designed for older people. If you’re fit you can go hard, but if you’re not so fit or recovering from injury or surgery, you can still do them but at a gentler pace.”

Amber said she had never been interested in sport in younger years and wasn’t particularly active, but is fitter now than she was when she was 40.

Heading here

Active April encourages all Victorians to do 30 minutes of activity every day during the month.

To take part, just visit the website and register by April 30. Participants can log their daily activity in a mobile or web-based app and chart their progress.

Everyone who registers receives a range of freebies and discounts, and this year there is an all-new Get Active workout program with instructional videos to promote activity.

Details www.activeapril.vic.gov.au

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