Fitness has always played a major role in Lyndle Harper’s life, and now the personal trainer is sharing his strengths with the residents at Kahala Nui.
Harper joined the senior living community in 2009 after working one-on-one with a 78-year-old named Jim Richards. At the time, Richards was recovering from open-heart surgery and hoping to get into better physical shape. He approached Harper at a local gym one day seeking advice, and instantly a relationship was formed.
Up until that point, Harper had only coached athletes in kickboxing, taekwondo and other high-impact sports. But he enjoyed working with Richards and eventually applied for a position at Kahala Nui, where now he teaches circuit training and group classes in exercises that keep his students healthy and independent.
“As we get older, health is not so much about how we look but how much of our independence we can retain,” Harper states. “(Kahala Nui residents) love learning about exercise and applying it to help themselves.”
And Harper, who served as a presidential guard at the White House in the late ‘80s, feels he has found his niche as well.
“Working with seniors has taught me so much,” he says, “and I have made it my personal goal to soak up all the information I can regarding seniors and how to help them achieve their wellness goals.
“I’m so appreciative of them allowing me into their lives and mentoring me and helping me grow.”
One Kahala Nui resident in particular who has made an impact on the former Marine is Liz Merrill, who recently was diagnosed with advanced multiple sclerosis. Harper works one-on-one with the 72-year-old in his spare time, even installing exercise equipment and stretch bands in her apartment so she can continue working out on her own.
“When you have a degenerative disease like MS, consistent exercise is especially important,” Harper explains, adding that another important component of fitness is self-confidence, something Merrill lacked when they first met.
“I’m so happy to see people like Liz really benefitting from exercise,” says Harper. “The people I help are like my family, and I want to see them healthy and fit.
“I truly love what I do and feel lucky to be able to have turned my passion into my work.”
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