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90-year-old P.E.I. woman walks, pedals and stretches to stay in shape

Shirley Horne, 90, of Charlottetown hits the yoga mat every night for at least 30 minutes. She also likes to walk and pedal a stationary bike to keep fit.
Shirley Horne, 90, of Charlottetown hits the yoga mat every night for at least 30 minutes. She also likes to walk and pedal a stationary bike to keep fit. - Jim Day

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - Some who are much younger than the very active Shirley Horne might be inspired just watching the 90-year-old effortlessly twist and stretch on a yoga mat.

“Really, I’m fairly flexible,’’ says the spry Charlottetown resident.

“I do not have a stiff bone in my body.’’

Horne soon backs up the statement by lying on a yoga mat in her kitchen, bending at the hip and stretching her fingers past her toes with not so much as a grunt or a groan.

She has been doing yoga for the past five years – just one of many ways she remains physically fit during nine decades of being constantly on the move.

She makes her way to yoga class once a week but puts in at least 30 minutes every night on her mat at home.


Getting active
Health Canada offers the following physical activity tips for adults 65 years and older:

1. Take part in at least 2.5 hours of moderate to vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week.
2. Spread out the activities into sessions of 10 minutes or more.
3. It is beneficial to add muscle and bone strengthening using major muscle groups at least twice a week. This will help improve posture and balance.


Yoga instructor Eleanor Gallant marvels at the nonagenarian participant in her class, noting Horne could pass for 70.

“She’s fully engaged, and she wants to do everything,’’ says Gallant.

“She’s one of the most cheerful in the class…Shirley has a go out and do it attitude.’’

Horne has never let advancing years get in the way of a life-time of active living.

Horse-back riding, skiing, swimming and skating have all been passionate forms of exercise for the woman who grew up in Charlottetown, raised three children and enjoyed a diverse career that included teaching, freelance journalism and tour guide operator.

All of her children live on P.E.I. and, like mom, are still very active.

“They have to be to keep up with me,’’ she quips.

“She’s fully engaged, and she wants to do everything. She’s one of the most cheerful in the class…Shirley has a go out and do it attitude.’’
-Eleanor Gallant

Her beloved husband, Alton Horne, died in 2000.

Eventually, the outgoing and social Horne started dating an older man she met while attending Seniors College of P.E.I.

The pair, while never living together, enjoyed a wonderful 10-year relationship until her cherished companion died.

The couple would regularly make their way to the gym together with Horne hitting the treadmill and stationary bike.

“We went everywhere,’’ she said.

“We just had a good time.’’

Today, in addition to yoga, Horne pedals on a stationary bike in her apartment building and goes for lengthy walks outside “whenever I get the time and whenever it is decent.’’

Asked how she feels about her health, Horne says she has her ups and downs, noting there are always some little things that bother her.

Still, she is quick to voice gratitude for enjoying such relatively good health. She knows she is doing very well for 90 – and, really, not bad at all if she was 80 or even 70 in her current physical condition.

“Oh, I’m thankful, I’m thankful,’’ she says.

Horne encourages others to follow her lead in being as active as possible.

“No point in sitting around.’’

Twitter.com/PEIGuardian

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