Inspiring figure: 70-year-old’s workout motivates others

By Richard Greene | Published Wednesday, January 10, 2018

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Working Those Arms

WORKING THOSE ARMS – Lynn Foster uses a handcycle machine at Fit-N-Wise. It’s part of his regular workout routine. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Lynn Foster turns laps around the track on the second level of Fit-N-Wise as boys more than 50 years his junior play basketball on the court below.

The 40 laps around the eighth of a mile track begins Foster’s daily regimen. Following the five-mile walk is a combined 10 miles on a pair of different exercise bikes.

“He’s up here all the time. He just goes and goes,” said Susie Burt, the Fit-N-Wise gym event coordinator.

FRIENDLY FACE – Lynn Foster waves at a fellow patron at Fit-N-Wise. Foster said about his fellow members, “if someone walks through the door, I think they are a good person.” Messenger photo by Joe Duty

The 70-year-old spends four to five hours each weekday at the gym, carrying a unique outlook.

“It’s not a matter of how I want to live – I want to die healthy,” Foster said. “When I go to Walmart, I don’t want to be in a scooter. I want to be mobile. If I’m alive in 10 years, I still want to be up here.”

Foster’s routine, outlook and usual jovial nature has inspired many at the gym, according to Fit-N-Wise Director of Child Wellness and School Based Telemedicine Holly Berry. Foster usually drops off a miniature Snickers for Berry when he comes in.

“He says all good things in moderation,” Berry said.

Working out and making time for a trip to the gym was never a focus for the retired service worker until his mid 60s after an accident at his home in Cottondale. A tractor fell on Foster, breaking his wrist and pelvis. He was pinned under the tractor for two hours.

“I didn’t know how bad I was hurt,” Foster recalled. “They got me out, and I went to rehab for the injuries.”

Not long after, Foster’s wife died. After suffering breathing difficulty, he found out he needed heart surgery with his aorta valve down to 10 percent.

“I had a double bypass,” Foster said. “The cardiologist said I’d be dead in 30 days if [the valve] was not replaced.”

As part of his recovery, he started going to the gym, doing a little more each day.

“Once I started, I felt pretty good,” Foster said. “I didn’t realize how bad I was.”

Going to the gym soon became a routine, following his 18-mile trip to Decatur for lunch. Soon after, he started to see results.

“I never run out of breath. Compared with the way I was before, I’m 1,000 percent better,” Foster said.

During his workout, he talks to many of his fellow patrons at the gym. Many are familiar faces that he encounters and encourages daily. He tries to say hello to any of the new faces he sees.

“You see nothing but happy people up here,” Foster said. “We’re working out. How can you not be happy?

“If someone walks through the door, I think they are a good person. It makes a positive statement that they are here.”

Foster couldn’t wait for the new Fit-N-Wise facility to open last January. He’s thrilled with all that it offers, including his favorite – the steam room. He calls himself an unofficial ambassador for the gym.

As a new year starts and many people are making resolutions to get in shape, Foster offers his encouragement and simple advice.

“Get in a routine. You’ve got to continue to the point that it’s a way of life,” he said.

“In the beginning, you’ll have aches and pains. But the body is like a machine, if you don’t use it, it doesn’t move the way it should.”

Foster proves age is only a number, and it’s not going to stop him and shouldn’t anyone else.

“It’s a small investment in your future,” Foster said. “I may be 70, but I want to live like I’m 50.”

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