Keeping active means staying young at heart

Lawn bowling, water aerobics and singing keeping one local senior busy

Ruth Zernial

Ruth Zernial has been lawn bowling with the Central Saanich Lawn Bowling Club since 1999, a number not unfamiliar to the Saanich woman who just celebrated her 99th birthday last month.

Zernial turned 99 on June 20 and celebrated with members of the lawn bowling club and her water aerobics group — another activity she participates in to keep herself busy.

“All my life I was very into sports like golfing and other things,” explained Zernial, who in her younger days graduated from the Universities of Berlin and Freiburg with accreditation as a physiotherapist.

“Lawn bowling and water aerobics are both good because they are good movement for the body.”

After growing up and raising a family with her first husband in Germany, Zernial visited Canada several times after his death. In 1989, she moved to Brentwood Bay to live with her second husband, Gunter Wittneben, whom she met the year prior during a visit.

When Wittneben died in 1996, Zernial vowed to remain active and busy to keep herself from becoming depressed.

“I took courses in reflexology and applied kinesiology because I wanted to keep learning and keep my brain active,” Zernial explained.

Zernial, who drove up until last year when she gave up her license, now has a little more trouble getting around to all the activities in her busy schedule, but said that she has discovered just how many friends she has in the community because of it.

“Since I have no car, I rely on the HandyDart to get around to some activities but I can’t always get one. It’s then I see how many friends I have when they offer to drive me or take me places. It’s amazing. I’m very appreciative.”

Margaret Smith, the president of the Central Saanich Lawn Bowling Club said that Zernial’s stamina during games is impressive.

“She’s an amazing woman. She can outplay many of our younger members,” she laughed.

Zernial has also made a point of keeping up with the times. The senior is computer-savvy and uses Skype and email to keep in touch with friends and family overseas.

“It’s the only way I can see them on a regular basis,” she said, referring to Skype.

Between lawn bowling around three times a week, weekly water aerobics and being a member of Silver Threads’ Hampton Singers, Zernial keeps herself active and she attributes her participation in the different organizations to her graceful aging.

“I do keep myself very active,” she said.

“And why do I do it? Because it keeps me going. If you never stop learning, never stop moving, go outside your limits, it keeps you young.”

Just Posted

Police investigating ‘unprovoked attack’ at Uptown bus stop

Man was attacked while waiting at Douglas St bus stop Sunday night

Intense winds could reach 70km in Greater Victoria

Environment Canada issued wind warning for Dec. 17

Saanich police are seeking suspect in sexual assault report

Incident happened early Saturday morning near Rudd Park

PHOTOS: Skate with Santa a smashing success in Oak Bay

Missed the fun? A second event is set for Dec. 18

Langford elementary school kids test their hand at entrepreneurship

Students sold their own products at a Young Entrepreneurs Fair Friday

POLL: Are you dreaming of a white Christmas?

The rain Vancouver Island is famous for is coming down in buckets,… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 11, 2018

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Ryan Reynolds to narrate movie about B.C.’s Great Bear Rainforest

Vancouver-born actor known for Deadpool movies will voice film to be released Feb. 15, 2019

Airline passengers could get up to $2,400 for delays, damaged bags: Canadian agency

Canadian Transportation Agency is releasing draft regulations for public feedback

Top of mind: ‘Justice’ is Merriam-Webster’s word of the year

Merriam-Webster has chosen “justice” as its 2018 word of the year, driven by the churning news cycle and President Trump’s Twitter feed.

‘Spider-Verse’ swings to the top; ‘Mortal Engines’ tanks

“Spider-Verse” has been very well-received among critics, and audiences in exit surveys gave it a rare A+ CinemaScore.

Speaker at rally says Alberta oil ‘puts tofu on the table in Toronto!’

RCMP estimated more than 1,500 people attended the rally in Grande Prairie

White House closer to partial shutdown with wall demand

Without a resolution, parts of the federal government will shut down at midnight on Friday, Dec. 21

Most Read