Bea Ingram, pictured after her Aquafit class at the YMCA of Okanagan, has been attending the Y three times a week for 37 years after becoming a member in 1981. Photo contributed.

Kelowna senior celebrates 90th birthday and 4,440 aquafit classes

This year, Bea Ingram celebrated her 90thbirthday at the Kelowna YMCA

A Kelowna senior is celebrating two momentous occasions this year, a 90th birthday and more than 4,000 Aquafit classes. Yes you heard that right, she has attended more than 4,000 Aquafit classes.

Bea Ingram just celebrated her 90th birthday and, according to the YMCA of Okanagan, credits her good health to her three-times-a-week Aquafit classes, along with the social network she has made through her local community centre.

She moved to the Okanagan with her husband after retiring, built a house and was looking for something in the way of entertainment when she found the Y.

“Some friends approached us and said, ‘Why don’t you come to the Y’,” says Ingram. “So we started going every week, three times a week. That was in 1981. I was 53 years old, and I have been going ever since.

“I just loved it! It was something nice to do, I made a lot of new friends, it was rewarding and kept me in shape.”

Related: Salmon Arm’s Lena Johnston celebrates 109

Ingram has now become an inspiration to many, having attended about 4,440 Aquafit classes since her first dip in the pool in 1981.

“Lots of people have told me over the years that I am an inspiration to them. It makes me feel great that they think that,” Ingram says.

“I celebrated my 90th at the YMCA with many of the people I’ve met there. They gave me a really nice party. I have made nine or 10 friends in the classes and whenever one of us has a birthday, we take her out to lunch at one of the nice restaurants. We have become good friends.”

When asked what advice she would give to anyone considering a group class or new activity, Ingram had some wise words to impart.

“It is important to be active throughout life,” exclaims Ingram. “I probably wouldn’t be here or be in the shape I’m in if I had not been enjoying the exercise and social atmosphere of the Y all these years.

“Anybody that has an inkling that they want to come to the Y, I would really encourage them as it is probably the smartest thing they will ever do.”

March has been deemed Embrace Aging Month in the Okanagan — providing an opportunity for community members and organizations to share resources and education to promote healthy living as we age.

Related: Changing philosophies for seniors’ care

Related: How Okanagan seniors can outsmart scammers

Related: Cure for Alzheimer’s disease remains elusive

For more information, visit ymcaokanagan.ca or call 250-491-9622.

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