AUSTIN, Texas– Ralph and Eleanor “Ellie” Erchinger and David and Jajauna Scott, two power couples at Buckner Villas, agree that staying active throughout life, especially in aging, increases longevity, energy and mobility. Both couples are fitness gurus, volunteer regularly, explore their own hobbies and partake in social events.
Since moving into their private villa in 2012, David, 78, has lifted more than 7.5 million pounds at the Buckner Villas wellness center and clocked 2,789 miles on the stationary bike. Ralph, 86, has lifted nearly 3.5 million pounds just in the past year. Their wives also exercise regularly and participate in many fitness classes Buckner Villas offers.
“We’ve always led a lively lifestyle,” said Jajauna. “Just because we are getting older doesn’t mean we are going to stop doing what we’ve always done. Over time, we are just active in different ways. We used to travel a lot more, but now we are focused on our families, church involvement and our individual hobbies. We work as a team, which is important to maintain the energetic life we love.”
Jajauna has arthritis and sticks to the bicycle plus a few machines, but she sees the regular exercise help her joints tremendously. David does a 75-minute workout on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays. He bikes for three miles, then does strength training on the machines. The Scotts also make time for friends, some of whom they’ve known for more than 50 years.
“Being involved in spiritual, social and fitness activities keeps us mentally younger,” David said. “We feel younger the more we participate and the more we move around. It’s important to keep up with what’s going on in the world or you’d just sit around and wither away.”
The Scotts and the Erchingers both participated in a wellness initiative at Buckner Villas called “European Adventure,” in which residents competed on teams to complete fitness tasks and win prizes. The also readily use the Buckner Villas fitness center, and especially the indoor pool to help with arthritis and surgery recovery.
“I’ve had about every joint you can think of replaced, including my knees, hips and shoulders,” Ralph said. “I’m happy that I’m able to continue my lifelong pattern of exercise. I served in the Air Force for a 30-year career, and we’ve always been avid hikers and travelers, so being active is what we’ve always known.”
In addition to exercising physically, The Erchingers also devote regular time to exercising their minds by creating a memoir to share their stories, advice and values with their family. They’ve been collecting DVDs and books from their lifetime to help with the project.
“We found a wonderful togetherness in doing this memoir,” Ellie said. “In 60 years of marriage, we have found it is important to have similar values, goals, energy levels, fitness regimes and interests. We are truly a team.”
“Janet Burnett, life enrichment coordinator for the community, has done a phenomenal job of finding out residents’ interests and creating a light-hearted and spirited schedule to promote active aging among older adults with those interests in mind,” said Doyle Antle, executive director of Buckner Villas. “It is inspiring to see residents like the Erchingers and Scotts supporting each other’s fitness goals and doing things together to meet new people and try new things.”
Watch KVUE’s coverage of these inspirational couples here.