Marjie's group for silver fitness enthusiasts
IN 1970 Helen Shapiro was belting out Walking Back To Happiness and the then 30-year-old Marjie Andrews was getting ready to leave Melbourne to live on the Sunshine Coast.
Today, the British pop star's hit could well be Marjie's theme song as she has one simple piece of advice for anyone thinking of getting fit - it's never too late to start walking.
Marjie, who now lives in Maroochydore, started a Welcome to Walking for Fitness, Fun and Friendship class three years ago and among her members are a 90-year-old ("she's wonderful"), a few men and women in their 80s, and some younger.
And for someone who'll be 77 this year, Marjie is pretty sprightly herself.
She told Seniors how the idea came while she was driving along the South Bank of the Maroochy River.
"I saw the good folk enjoying the fresh air and the ambience as they strolled along the riverside path," she said.
"There and then I decided to start a class which would combine walking with exercise interludes, including Tai Chi for arthritis management, and falls prevention."
The idea caught on and Marjie's current class of silver fitness enthusiasts showed their appreciation when they nominated her as Senior Citizen of the Year in last month's Sunshine Coast Council's Australia Day Awards.
A former school teacher, she has had lifelong interest in health and fitness. In 1986 she attained accreditation in both group exercise and aqua-fitness and conducted classes in Woombye and Maroochydore until recently.
She believes much of the physical decline associated with ageing is due to inactivity rather than disease.
"My aim is to keep people healthy, away from doctors and out of hospital. I love what I do."
The walking group meets at the Cod Hole Boat Ramp Vehicle Park in Bradman Avenue at 9am on Mondays and Tuesdays.
It's $5 for two hours and classes resume for 2017 on Mon-Tues, February 13-14.
Phone Marjie on 54484229.