74-Year-Old Opelika Woman in the Running for the Nation’s Fittest Senior
A 74-year-old from Opelika proving it’s never too late to start new goals… From embarking on a new career to being in the running for the nation’s ‘most fit’ senior.
Before the pandemic, Mona Burke spent several days a week in the Anytime Fitness Opelika gym working to get healthier after injuring herself in 2019. Now, she is working out from home with her personal trainer and says the state of the country has made her even more motivated to reach her goals, “When I’m watching TV, I do arm circles and leg circles. I make sure I get my steps in on my watch.”
A lady who is always known to go above and surpass goals: When Mona Burke broke her hip and femur in January of 2019, she knew something had change. That’s when she joined Silver Sneakers through Anytime Fitness Opelika– a program for seniors to stay healthy in the gym, sometimes covered by insurance. But since January, Burke decided to embark on personal training to stay out of the public and remain healthy during the outbreak, “We do it all from home. I have a 5 pound weight, an 8 pound weight and just got two 10 pound weights that I am working with. I use the bands and the ball,” Burke explained.
She said she has always struggled with her weight, but now Burke weighs less than she did in high school, 122 pounds… down more than 70 pounds this past year. Helping Burke reach these goals is Personal trainer Alicia Green who secretly nominated her for the 2020 Swanson Award for Silver Sneakers, “She’s able to do lunges and touch her knee to the ground holding weights. She’s able to plank for three minutes. She’s able to plank for two and a half minutes with hip slaps and do multi-combination moves.”
But Burke’s fitness journey isn’t all she has under her belt. In 2005, she proved it’s never too late to start a new career… She earned her RN at 50-years-old, “It was rough, but I loved it. I love nursing. I worked until I was 70.”
Julie Thorn, owner of the gym, said she knew from the beginning of Burke’s fitness journey… that she was different, “She always wanted to stand. She always wanted to do the most weight. She always wanted to challenge herself. I knew from the beginning she always wanted to go above and beyond. I’m sure she’s always done that in her life.
Now that Burke is one of the top 10 2020 Silver Sneaker Award finalists, she has one last goal for this year: Win the competition, “I’m already proud of myself that I’ve advanced this far.”
The deadline to vote for Mona Burke as the 2020 fittest Silver Sneaker is this Friday at midnight… just head to the website silversneakers.swansonaward.