Schmidt isn’t ready to slow downPublished 9:49am Friday, August 9, 2013
Jo Schmidt might scoff at the notion she could be a poster lady for physical fitness among the elderly at the Fergus Falls Area Family YMCA, but the 82-year-old Fergus native takes her health seriously and is more physically active than many ladies half her age.
Consider the fact she has weathered a four-bypass heart surgery 15 years ago, has had both knees replaced and suffers from arthritis, those problems haven’t stopped her or slowed her down.
She’s an active member of the YMCA and dons a bicycle helmet for her half-mile ride to the facility three times a week. She also participates in 45 minutes of water fitness each morning at the facility.
Also on her resume is a one and a quarter mile swim across Blanche Lake at the age of 71 and she has taught swimming and water fitness at the YMCA.
Her experiences in the water played no small part in her decision to compete in the swimming portion of the annual triathlon at Hoot Lake two weeks ago, which is sponsored by the YMCA.
Her grand-daughter-in-law and sister from Denver, Colo. handled the biking and running competition in a team effort.
“I’ve always been active,” Schmidt said. “I’ve been a member of the Y since it opened and really enjoy the social aspects of it. There’s a lot of 70 – to 80-year-olds in our class and we’re all close-knit. We’ll have coffee parties at the pool and things like that.”
Schmidt was a runner in high school and a biker into her 30’s. The triathlon covered 15 miles on the bike and the running entailed just over three miles.
Her husband, Jim, was a used car salesman over the years and passed away about five years ago. They had three girls – Susan, Cindy and Jami.
“Swimming and the YMCA have always been a lot of fun for me,” adds Schmidt. “I just feel so fortunate to be able to do what I do at my age and the staff is always so nice and friendly. We’re very fortunate to have a facility like that in a community of this size. It’s a wonderful place.”
Schmidt has seven grandkids and nine great grandkids.