Meet the 90-year-old fitness inspirations showing South Shields how it’s done

Two women in their 90s are showing younger people the way when it comes to keeping fit.

By Sophie Brownson
Thursday, 24 January, 2019, 05:00

Joyce McDonald, who is 90, is showing no signs of slowing down - taking on a weekly fitness class in South Shields.

Joyce has now been joined in the class by her friend Gladys Wooley, who is aged 92.

Former telephone operator, Joyce and former NHS worker Gladys, takes part in an aerobics class on Friday mornings at Marsden Road Health Centre.Joyce, from Westoe, South Shields, has been going to the Staying Active in South Tyneside class for a number of years, which is led by owner and instructor Zoe Glendenning.

Joyce said: “ I come to keep fit and strong and they find exercise helps me to complete daily tasks easier.

“I also like the social part of coming to a class.”

Zoe, called her ‘amazing’ for being so mobile at her age and says Joyce loves keeping fit.

Staying Active in South Tyneside over 50s group. From left Joyce McDonald and Gladys Wooley.

Zoe said: “All of our exercise classes are for older adults, aged 50 plus, including those with long term health conditions such as COPD heart conditions, diabetes, and Parkinsons.

“Joyce has attended my class every Friday for a few years now and never missed one, regardless of the weather.

“She has had many health challenges over the years, but keeps active despite everything.

“She is amazing and so full of life.”

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Staying Active in South Tyneside over 50s group.

The circuits-style classes see participants take on a range of exercises which work on balance, mobility an upper body strength.

Sessions also give participants the chance to socialise by offering refreshments afterwards, allowing time to chat.

Gladys, from Boldon, was also praised by Zoe for her impressive dedication to keeping fit.

Zoe, from South Shields, said: “Gladys joined a few months ago after being referred by a physio.

Staying Active in South Tyneside over 50s group. Joyce McDonald.

“She had never exercised before, but comes twice a week and loves it.

“I have seen massive improvements in Gladys and Joyce’s fitness - but I remember when I first met them I didn’t think they were that age!

“Last year was amazing, with more and more people attending the classes and people have said they love them.”

For more details on the Staying Active classes, call 07470 470297 or email:

Staying Active in South Tyneside over 50s group. Gladys Wooley.
Staying Active in South Tyneside over 50s group. From left Joyce McDonald, trainer Zoe Glendennings and Gladys Wooley.