Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday the dining room fills up at Green Hills Retirement Community in Ames. Residents are here to get the blood pumping and keep their bodies moving. The exercise classes include moves like squats and legs lifts, bicep curls and triceps extensions and one of the spriest people here just happens to be one of the oldest.
“Well, I guess I never thought about it until this year, but now I’m thinking, I’ve lived a century!” You’d never guess Marjorie Hennigs is turning 100. Her body is still nimble and her mind is still sharp.
She’s seen a lot of changes over the past ten decades and says electricity was probably the most remarkable invention. She vividly remembers getting indoor plumbing and the excitement of her family getting a radio, and later a television. According to Marjorie, keeping up with ‘the younger generation’ keeps her young. “I go to all the activities here you know and I’m acquainted with almost everyone.”
Marjorie’s family calls her “Nana.” Great-granddaughter Erica Sandve will turn 22 the same day Marjorie turns 100. “She used to play basketball,” says Erica, “she’s a huge fan of the Iowa State women and goes to almost every game. She has season tickets!”
Erica also calls her great-grandmother amazing. “Seriously, ten years ago she was wrestling on the floor with my brother. She’s been active her whole life and she won’t stop!”
Exercise is just one of Marjorie’s secrets. She also does beautiful cross stitch. “Well I think everyone should have a hobby, something you enjoy doing, to stimulate the mind.”
And then there’s the 2200 Club, a social hour at 4:30 every afternoon. “Don’t say anything about that martini,” Marjorie whispers, “sometimes it’s wine instead of a martini, it depends how I feel.”
But Marjorie says the thing that really keeps her going strong is her family. “My grandchildren and my great-grandchildren have given me so much pleasure.” And she’s given them a good role model. She’s living proof that exercising your body and mind can add years to your life. Keeping a positive attitude makes the journey that much sweeter, no matter what comes along. “Oh, life has changed,” she says with a smile, “it’s changed.”