Diving head first into the good life at Seachange Toowoomba
Margaret Anderton discovered aquarobics while recuperating from surgery and, like most things in life, the sporty 81-year-old dived right in.
Now she teaches three classes a week for friends and neighbours at the Ingenia Seachange Lifestyle Resort, in Toowoomba.
After losing a kidney to cancer a year ago, Margaret donned her swimmers and picked up a pool noodle intent on using gentle, low impact exercise to rebuild her health.
At the centre of the Seachange Toowoomba community is an elegant country club-style community centre, complete with fully equipped and heated indoor pool. It is just outside Margaret’s front door and she heads there most mornings to take a dip.
At first, the fitness enthusiast worked out on her own but others wanted to join in and asked for her advice. When Margaret said she was willing to lead a small group she had no idea that 28 people would sign up.
“We still have a waiting list and some people never miss a class but three sessions a week is all I can manage with all my other commitments,” she laughed.
“The pool has salt and magnesium in it, so the water is smoother and silkier and good for aches and pains. It is always a comfortable 30 degrees in winter and 28 degrees in summer so there is no excuse for skipping a session.”
Margaret has put together a program of modified exercises to suit older people and she gets in the pool each session to demonstrate.
“Unless I do the session too, I’m not getting the benefit,” she said. “I’ve always been active and interested in exercise because it makes you feel so much better. As you get older, it is important to keep your body supple and not let your joints stiffen.”
Slim and lithe, Margaret played tennis until recently when major surgery put her out of the game. She still plays ladies pool, indoor bowls and goes to pilates.
When she is not working out, she is a whizz at scrabble and visits nursing homes playing the ukelele in a musical ensemble with friends.
“I’ve always been a motivated person and volunteering has been a big part of my life,” she said.
Her contribution has been outstanding, as Secretary of the Country Women’s Association, and Driver/Reviver volunteer for more than 20 years, treasurer of both the tennis club and museum, and Sunday school helper.
After 35 years working with cattle and crops on the family farm, Margaret moved to Seachange Toowoomba last year after losing her husband to dementia.
“I was mentally and physically ready for the change,” she said. “By then we had left the property and built a house at Millmerran so we could go fishing, travelling and enjoy the grandchildren, but it was tough maintaining a big house and garden on my own.
“I wanted to stay in Toowoomba because I was born here and have family in the area. The house sold in three weeks and I moved to Seachange. It was meant to be.
“Seachange has been such a welcoming place and so quiet and peaceful. I’ve enjoyed making new friends and there is real peace of mind living in a gated community.”