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A group of step-happy seniors in Coffs Harbour are proving age is no barrier when it comes to exercise by participating in a weekly walking club.  The group which started as a small group of 12 has now reached 23 and meets every Tuesday to go for a walk around the local area. The group was formed by the effervescent Ingenia Gardens Retirement Village manager Sandra Luke and was supported by the Mid North Coast Local Health District’s Health Promotion team and came together when Sandra had received feedback from several residents about ways to get active and improve their health.

Every Tuesday morning the seniors dust off their walking shoes and walk at least 4,000 steps to help maintain a healthy active lifestyle, all while socialising with their neighbours. 

Seventy-nine-year-old Ingenia Gardens Coffs Harbour resident and walking club coordinator Elizabeth Maguire joined the club in 2018 in a bid to keep herself active and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

“I have always been an active person so when the opportunity to create a walking club presented itself, I jumped at it,” Ms Maguire said.

“Sometimes people can be hesitant about exercising when they are older but once they start, even if it is just for a short walk, they realise how much fun and beneficial it can be.”

Ingenia Gardens Coffs Harbour Village Manager Sandra Luke encourages residents in her community to get involved in the walking club and the community’s Activate program — a series of regular activities, performances, bus trips and informative talks that are fun and free.

“Programs like Activate and the walking club help residents get out and about while trying new activities and being active,” Ms Luke said.

“The program is designed to help our residents build strong bonds with each other and provide a sense of belonging to the community — it is always lovely to see them getting to know each other better, especially when they are being active and improving their health at the same time.”

When asked what her favourite walk story was, Elizabeth had mentioned that there was so many happy stories, from one gentleman in the village who gets so ecstatic at the distance he is able to walk outside the village using his wheelie walker. The walk has also brought to residents close together who have formed a romantic relationship, proving that you can stay fit and find love at any age.