How to motivate yourself to get active and stay active

It’s easy to make excuses not to exercise, but one woman proves it’s never too late to get active.

Retired high school English teacher Joan Packer exercises six days a week. She moved to Hawaii many years ago and didn’t know what to do with herself.

Laniakea YWCA in downtown Honolulu
Laniakea YWCA in downtown Honolulu offers swim classes for kupuna.

“I was depressed and I realized I didn’t want to sleep all day. I looked out at the park and looked at all these people running around and getting so fit and looking so good and I thought, I need that,” she said. “I kept feeling better and better. I thought, I want more of this.”

Packer moved to Hawaii from Missouri where, she says, her diet may have been less than ideal.

“(I ate) mashed potatoes and hot biscuits and fried ham so I did have to get used to a better diet. It wasn’t easy – but you know, I did it little by little.”

Many kupuna find exercise groups through the parks and recreation department or where they live. Packer says the important thing is to keep at it.

“I’m inherently lazy so I had to have structure. I had to have a trainer and then classes,” she said. “I would say, find somebody you can exercise with, but the important thing is to be consistent. Keep it up.”

She should know. Packer is 93 years of age and still going strong.

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