June 2015

There are many great ways to exercise — at any age

Cape Cod Life  /  June 2015 /

Writer: Matthew J. Gill

Cape Cod Seniors are involved in a variety of sports and activities

Cape Cod Seniors are involved in a variety of sports and activities

Photo by: Shutterstock / Benoit Daoust

THE CAPE AND ISLANDS OFFER SEEMINGLY ENDLESS opportunities and venues for people young and old to exercise, get some fresh air, and get or stay in shape. In this article, a handful of Cape Cod seniors talk about the sports and exercise activities they enjoy, and what drives them to stay active.

A Cape Cod resident for the past three decades, West Harwich resident, Nancy Prindle, is 94 and exercises regularly. “I go to the aerobic exercise class on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday,” Prindle says. “I love it. I’ve been there about 20 years.” Prindle works out at Cape Cod Health & Fitness in Dennis, and says she enjoys interacting with others she meets in the facility’s group exercise classes as well as learning from the different instructors. “They vary it so it doesn’t become boring,” she says, “and we move a lot!”

A native of Harlem, New York, Prindle grew up playing stickball in front of her home. As a college student, she participated in tennis, swimming, softball, and relay races. “Anything they offered,” she says. Though she loves the Cape, Prindle says she travels to upstate New York every summer to spend time with her family. “I know it’s crazy to leave the Cape,” she says, “but it’s family.” While there, she says she enjoys daily swims in a nearby lake.

For retired senior, Norm Theriault, golf is the sport of choice and he hits the links on a regular basis. When he was working full time and raising his four sons, Theriault says he golfed just once a month; in retirement, though, he has been able to get out on the greens four to five times per week.

Golfing with his friends, Theriault adds, offers the chance for both physical activity and a little socializing. “It’s about the competition,” he says, “but it’s also about the friendships. There is a group of guys—15 to 20 of us—who show up for a 12:30 p.m. game once a week at Sandwich Hollows Golf Club.” Theriault is also the captain of the club’s eight-member golf team that competes in the Cape Cod Senior Four Ball League. Every Thursday, the squad tees off against teams from other Cape clubs. “It’s a lot of fun,” he says, “and it’s a great opportunity to meet a whole bunch of nice people. It’s about the camaraderie.”

Cape Cod Seniors are involved in a variety of sports and activities

Photo by: Shutterstock / Robert Kneschke

While Theriault has participated in other senior sports leagues, including Cape Cod Senior Softball and Basketball, he’s taken a step back in recent years. “Those leagues are for people 55 years and older,” he says. “I played in the senior softball league for five years, but you have to be pretty quick—those guys are pretty good. I still shoot a few hoops now and then.”

Elsewhere on the Upper Cape, a group of local seniors can be found playing in a co-ed bowling league on Tuesday mornings at The Lanes Bowl & Bistro in Mashpee Commons. Participants roll a few strings, share some laughs and enjoy coffee and a light lunch. Mashpee resident, Joyce Connors, 75, arrives for the bowling session each Tuesday morning after taking part in a local group exercise class. “We are bikers, we’re tennis players, and we’re walkers,” Connors says, “and you thought we were old. We are—but we’re still functioning.” Connors says her record bowling score is a stout 145.

Fellow Tuesday morning bowler, Monti Gilardi, 64, of Hyannis, says he enjoys the game—and while many of the men he bowled with during the winter have fled the lanes for the links this spring, he’s still sparing time to knock down a few pins. “It’s challenging,” he says, “and at the same time it’s a good workout, believe it or not.”

Mary Stanley also contributed to this article.

Matthew J. Gill

Matthew Gill is the former editor of Cape Cod LIFE and Cape Cod ART magazines. A graduate of U-Mass Dartmouth, Matthew has worked as a journalist since 2003 and has written on topics ranging from the sinking of Nantucket’s whale ship Essex and the history of the Barnstable-Falmouth Thanksgiving football rivalry, to the Cotuit Rowing Club, Provincetown’s Art’s Dune Tours, and more! A relative newcomer when it comes to the Cape, Matt and his wife Melissa just celebrated a Cape Cod-themed wedding.