93-year-old couple heroes to other gym rats
by Michael Vitez
THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER
PHILADELPHIA - Moe drives to the gym every
morning, but Fay always takes an extra set of keys because once he
locked his in the trunk.
They prefer gray sweats to spandex, conversation to headphones. They are so unfashionable that they barely perspire.
Yet they inspire.
Moe and Fay Lurie are both 93. They go to the gym almost every day and
are great examples of so many trends in healthy aging: The benefit of
exercise is long established, as is what some aging experts call "the
protective value of marriage."
"They're our inspiration," said Sonjia Stanton, 58, as she passed Moe
and Fay on the track at Bally Total Fitness in Voorhees, N.J. "They
start out slow, but by the end, they're zooming."
Moe and Fay met in 1941 at a dance. Both were almost 30. Moe, 5 feet 3,
had his eye out for a short girl who could dance. On their first date,
Fay was so happy, so cheerful, so sweet, Moe asked her: "Is this an
act? " "No, it's not an act," she insisted. "That's how I am." After 62
years of marriage, Moe says, "That's how she is." "We're always
together," Fay says. "We like the same food. We like the same exercise.
And we like each other." Fay has a simple explanation for their
longevity as a couple: "I just ignore the bad stuff." After walking,
Moe and Fay hit the mats and stretch. Fay lies on her side, raises her
top leg to the sky - perpendicular to her bottom leg on the floor. Then
she raises her top arm to touch that top leg. Always with a smile.
Moe is next to her, doing stomach crunches.
Fay rolls on her back, brings her knees to her chest. She rocks forward
and back to gain momentum - rolls onto her shoulder blades, and lifts
her legs straight and skyward like the Eiffel Tower.
Fay is 107 pounds, the same weight as the day she graduated from high
school. She has always worked out and persuaded her husband to join her
once they married.
Moe also is the same weight he would have been when he graduated from
high school - had he ever gone. But he was poor and went to work after
eighth grade. He was a typesetter, retiring 30 years ago.
Moe is 115 pounds, his stomach as flat as a countertop.
Fay picks up 8-pound barbells, one in each hand, and swings them back
and forth until she has enough steam to hold them high above her head.
Men stop and watch.
"She's great, and that's from an old gym teacher," says Jerry Shusterman, 71.
Fay enjoys the attention but wants to keep her perspective. "I didn't
start yesterday." Both Fay and Moe have cut red meat out of their diet
and avoid fatty foods. They eat oatmeal every morning. "What's the use
of living long," she says, "if you can't feel good." Moe lifts 25-pound
barbells. His biceps, if not Alps, are at least Poconos. Moe sits at a
universal weight machine and pulls 72 pounds toward his chest - three
sets of 15 pulls each. Fay waits her turn. "I do it, too," she says.
"But not as heavy. More ladylike." She pulls 36 pounds a few times. She
will be 94 in August. "To tell you the truth," Fay says. "I'm enjoying