After 30 years, fitness fanatic still muscles up

Jan Ellis
Inspiration: Hume City Council's Jan Ellis.

A breast cancer survivor has notched up 30 years as a gymnasium and group fitness instructor at the Broadmeadows Aquatic and Leisure Centre.

Jan Ellis coordinates the Living Longer Living Stronger program, through which she assists senior citizens to improve their strength and coordination.

Hume Mayor, Councillor Helen Patsikatheodorou, said Jan has helped thousands of residents to improve their health.

“Jan is a real marvel, and she’s an institution in Broadmeadows,” Cr Patsikatheodorou said.

“The first fitness class she instructed in 1986 was an aqua session on Sundays, and this amazing woman is still leading the class today.

“She excelled at body building championships in the 1990s, and even demonstrated fitness equipment on morning television.

“While Jan Ellis is the epitome of a positive and healthy life, she has also faced extraordinary challenges in a way that inspires us all.”

In 2013, doctors gave Jan the devastating news that she had developed breast cancer.

Cr Patsikatheodorou said the finding was a shock to everyone.

“Jan has been a self-confessed fitness fanatic, and she was understandably shocked and even angry when doctors made the diagnosis,” she said.

“Her courage through this illness was remarkable, because Jan insisted that she return to work after surgery.

“This incredible woman continued to instruct exercise classes at Broadmeadows while she underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatment.

“As a breast cancer survivor myself, I know how much strength this demonstrated and understand why Jan’s students are in awe of her.”

A number of participants in Jan’s classes have been with her across the past three decades.

Many of them take part in Hume City Council’s Living Longer Living Stronger program, which aims to help senior citizens to reduce their chances of a fall.

Cr Patsikatheodorou said people were more likely to fall over as they aged.

“When people over 65 are hospitalised due to an injury, it is often because they have fallen over,” she said.

“In many cases, older people fall down because their muscles have weakened.

“Women lose up to one per cent of their bone mass every year from age 35, and this decrease is particularly apparent after menopause.

“Jan’s sessions help senior citizens to use weights so that they build up strength and maintain the density in their bones.

“These workouts can assist in every hour of the day, because they improve a person’s ability to walk, climb stairs and lift items.”

The Living Longer Living Stronger program can also help a person to better manage Type 2 diabetes.

Cr Patsikatheodorou encouraged senior citizens to consider whether they could benefit from weight training.

“Our leisure centres offer fantastic equipment, and the sessions are always conducted in a friendly and encouraging environment,” she said.

For further information on the Living Longer Living Stronger program, visit here or pop into one of the following Hume leisure centres:

• Broadmeadows Aquatic and Leisure Centre, 41-85 Tanderrum Way, Broadmeadows
• Craigieburn Leisure Centre, 127-147 Craigieburn Road, Craigieburn
• Sunbury Aquatic and Leisure Centre, 20 Ligar Street, Sunbury

Posted on 12:00 AM, 27 May 2016

Updated : 1:35 PM, 27 May 2016

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