103-year-old veteran is helping seniors stay active, teaching a fitness class

Published: Dec. 15, 2020 at 6:54 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A 103-year-old veteran is helping seniors stay active!

World War II veteran Dale Whitaker teaches a half hour fitness class at Lexington Park Independent Living Center seven days a week.

He takes the lead to keep seniors in shape, because he says exercise is the key ingredient to living a long life.

“I keep encouraging everybody to do some movements,” Whitaker said. “We need to keep our muscles toned a little bit, otherwise we’re not going to function or get around properly.”

Whitaker served as captain in Alaska during World War II.

He says the idea to teach a fitness class came from a special place, “we did exercise for the service, I was in for about three or four and half years. But, the current exercise program, sort of came about by accident.”

“I was with my wife at assisted living, and we were exercising using a tape and that tape began to wear out. So, I memorized the tape and started exercising with the group over there,” he explained.

Whitaker proves you are never too old to get in shape.

He says exercise plays a role on his longevity, “I’m convinced exercise is why I’m still in alive.”

Bernice Chadwell participates every day she finds encouragement in Dale’s class.

“The exercise is important to keep us moving and the social part is also good,” Chadwell emphasized. “Dale is so personable, and he can hear so good. He can’t see but he can hear.”

“He tells us that the reason he has lived so long has been exercising. So, that gives me encouragement, I don’t know if I want to live until I’m 104,” Chadwell said.

“It’s a good healthy movement, and we actually tire the muscles during that exercise period,” Whitaker added. “My biceps, they’re hard, and the reason they are, is that I use them every day.”

Whitaker believes there’s a purpose in his long life, “I think the good Lord has something for me to do. I have no idea what it is, so he has it, and I’ll stick with him as long as he wants me.”

“I don’t think it as a job, I think it as a privilege. That gives me an excuse to do exercise for my own body, and that’s very important to me and if I can pass that on to other people, I love it,” he emphasized.

Dale turns 104 years old on January 13th.

His wife and one of his sons is deceased, and he’s survived with two of his sons.

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