Joan Packer - Generations Magazine - April - May 2012Joan Packer did not start working out until age 77. She had been a smoker for 20 years and never exercised. When she first came in she couldn’t walk upstairs without holding on to the railing. Now at 90, she does the elliptical for 30 minutes without holding on to anything. Her goal was to lose weight and regain her health so she could stay independent.

Poor balance and lack of strength are big issues as we age. Resistance exercise is a must to preserve muscle mass and body function. It’s also important to get enough protein, fruits and vegetables.

Joan admits it was challenging at the beginning. “I could barely do a bicep curl with 2 lbs., now I use 15 lbs. Seeing Diane twice a week has changed my life. My strength and balance are much better and I have never been more flexible. My sciatica pain has also disappeared.”

When Joan went to visit her daughter in Seattle, they went for a hike up Mt. Rainier. To her surprise she went up the path and left her daughter trailing behind.

Joan’s last bone density exam showed she has the bones of someone in her thirties. She takes no medications, has no aches or pains, and still drives her car. Joan says she is in better shape now than 30 years ago. All from proper diet and exercise.

Joan is a role model for all my clients, including 87-year-old Victor who works hard to keep up with her. Whenever I introduce a new movement, the first thing everyone asks is: “Does Joan do this?” She sets the bar for all of us.

As a trainer, I’m constantly researching new movement patterns and approaches to connect the mind to the body. The more movements you learn, the more synapses you develop, and the sharper your mind stays.

Working with seniors has changed the way I think about aging. Joan is living proof that it is never too late to grow young again, in mind, body and spirit!

Diane Cadinha is a certified fitness trainer and lifestyle coach. She has been in the fitness industry for more than 25 years. She works out of two studios, in Mililani and Honolulu. Contact her at or call 221-3905.