83-year-old Rosemary Randall and 68-year-old Marion Williams encourage others to keep active and healthy as long as possible

2020 has been a particularly challenging and lonely time for the older generation, but best friends Rosemary Randall and Marion Williams have been embracing their active lifestyles.

Rosemary was a late comer to exercise and began running at the age of 40, inspired by her two sons who had joined a local running club. Marion has always been active, fitting in exercise within her working days for most of her life and being a long-term member of gyms and leisure facilities.

The pair met in 2019 after Marion unfortunately broke her ankle while walking her dog. Rosemary’s partner lives a few doors down from Marion and with Marion living in a first floor flat, the pair looked after her as she recovered.

“I relied on Rosemary and her partner during my recovery,” said Marion. “Having to use a Zimmer frame meant I couldn’t even carry a coffee to another room with me. This is how I got to know Rosemary and our friendship started from there.”

With both being naturally active people, they joined a ladies’ only gym following Marion’s recovery and started going together.

However, unfortunately the gym was unable to reopen following the first national lockdown. With Marion living alone, she entered a support bubble with Rosemary and the pair went on the lookout for a new gym.

After doing their research, they both decided on Anytime Fitness Welwyn Garden City due to its convenient location, free parking and broad equipment offering. Despite being keen to continue exercising, Rosemary had reservations due to her age and consulted with her doctor.

“I was worried that they wouldn’t take someone my age,” said Rosemary. “I checked with my doctor if it would be okay to join the gym and they said go for it! The team at Anytime Fitness were so welcoming and amazing with me and Marion; they’re so supportive of everything that we do.”

The gym supported the pair with an induction programme, ensuring they were familiar with all the equipment. Rosemary has had some long-term back problems and the staff also advised on exercises that would be best suited for her.
Often, you’ll find the pair on the cardio equipment or in the studio with some free weights and it’s an environment that they feel very much at home in.

“We love Anytime Fitness as the staff there are so nice and you don’t need to wait for equipment,” said Marion. “Significantly this year, we’ve both felt very safe and the members are very respectful of wiping down equipment and keeping their distance. It’s great in the winter too as with the car park being indoors, we don’t have to go outside in the cold when we come here.”

When the second national lockdown was imposed, the pair again took their exercise outdoors. With several walking routes and parks in their local area, they enjoyed long walks before gyms were permitted to reopen on 2nd December.

They certainly don’t intend on stopping anytime soon and Rosemary has advice for anyone in their older years who may feel trepidation about joining a gym.

“However old you are, it’s better for you to be fit, healthy and happy. That’s what I think – you should just go for it! If they come to Anytime Fitness, they’ll be well looked after. Although you may feel a bit silly at first if you’re older and see some younger people around you, you won’t feel out of place. I feel so much better every time I finish my sessions here and advise anyone of any age to go and enjoy it.”