Because of a recent trend involving active older adults, in April, the American College of Sports Medicine released their first set of physicians guidelines for active individuals over 50. It is not unusual to hear of folks in their 70s and older participating in triathlons, marathons and other competitive sports. Leading the trend, are two amazing and inspirational Charlotteans, Martin and Irene Travis.
Martin is 94 years young and his beloved wife of 62 years, Irene is 86. Fitness has always been a part of their lives and apparently they have no intention of slowing down. In the past, they both competed in the Senior Games in the Race Walking event and without exception, took home the gold. Martin played racquetball on a weekly basis until age 88, while Irene enjoyed group exercise classes with other senior citizens. Today, the couple exercises at the Levine JCC five days a week. Martin walks the track, uses the exercise machines and lifts dumbbells. Irene still enjoys her group classes but because of her continuous activity, now she can hang in there in the more challenging classes designed for all ages and stages of fitness.
In addition to burning up the track at the JCC, Martin plays a mean saxophone. He played for 54 years in the Shrine Band as well as for the Sentimentalists and other well known musical ensembles. Irene taught English in the Charlotte school system for 26 years. Now retired, her hobbies other than exercising include reading and travel. Martin and Irene have not only been to every country in Europe several times, but have also had the pleasure of traveling to Israel, New Zealand, Australia, Canada and Hawaii.
For sixteen years, your fitness examiner has had the privilege of working out with Irene and watching her go from exercising in a chair to regularly participating in non-senior designated classes. Without fail, whenever Irene is in a group exercise class, Martin passes by the window to flash his adoring smile and give that "thumbs up" wink of approval. To all who are blessed to know them and rub shoulders with them at the fitness facility, they are a continuous inspiration and shining example of what it means to live life to the fullest.