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Aging Well: Iron-pumping grandmas say working out keeps them healthy, happy

Weight training helps people of all ages in Aging Well, but a group of Oahu grandmas is taking it to a new level with a Guinness World Record under their weight belt.  

Tuesday, July 20th 2021, 5:10 PM HST by Diane Ako

Weight training helps people of all ages in Aging Well, but a group of Oahu grandmas is taking it to a new level with a Guinness World Record under their weight belt.  

Three times a week, the ladies of Johnny’s Fitness Ohana start their day with a workout. The group may be made up of mostly seniors, but they are no slouches. Team member Dorothy Sunio describes, “We do kettlebells, core weights, dumbbells and ab work.”

They work out from 6 to 7 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at Ala Moana Beach Park, and there is no rest for the weary. They do it online when coach John Sarich is out of town, or when COVID restrictions were in place. 

They are known for their achievement with kettlebell weights. “Our kettlebell women’s group that achieved the Guinness Book of World Records title, lifting the heaviest weight in an hour,” recalls Sunio. “We lifted over 63,000 pounds. Twelve women; 11 of whom are in their 60s and 70s.”

It’s 63,365.9 pounds, to be exact. Breaking a world record was Coach Sarich’s idea.

Team coordinator Lorie Young backgrounds, “He wanted to challenge ourselves and maybe at the same time, break a world record. We did it for him.”

They won, and the record still stands. “We broke the record by 20,000 pounds. It’ll hold for a while,” smiles Young.

The women are proud of that achievement, but say the real reward is health and happiness. “The more you’re active, you feel better. Your energy level is greater, and you have better balance, better flexibility, strength. All of that, as you age as a senior,” testifies Young. 

Sunio adds, “You get camaraderie and meet great friends. And it helps me keep up with my five-year-old grandson.”

It’s a free class and they say you’re welcome to join. Just don’t expect to take it easy.

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