Need proof that age is just a number? Look no further than the powerhouse couple on Instagram known as Kim and Ben. At 75 and 80 years old, respectively, the pair started weight training for the first time with their daughter — personal trainer Jeana Aragon — and their transformation is astonishing. Jeana’s mother, Kim, can now squat with a 35-pound weight at 76 years old. Ben, who is now 81, can squat with an 85-pound weight. In addition, many of their age-triggered symptoms, like joint and arthritis pain, have decreased. But how did they get to where they are today, and how did it all start? Learn about Kim and Ben’s incredible journey below.
How these older weightlifters started couples training
In 2021, Jeana noticed that her parents were getting quite sedentary. “In the winter months, they just sit and watch TV,” she shared in an Instagram reel. So, she proposed a simple workout plan for them: 30-minute weight-training sessions twice a week. “I said, ‘Hey, how about twice a week on Monday and Wednesday morning, you walk over to my house for your warm-up … and then we’ll do a training session,” she explained. (Her parents also walked home as a cool down.) “I’m so happy and they’re so happy,” Jeana said after the first couple training sessions.
Kim and Ben began to greatly enjoy their bi-weekly routine. They started light (Kim had never held a dumbbell before!) and performed gentle weight training with five-pound dumbbells. As the weeks progressed and her parents got more comfortable, Jeana upped the weight.
“Now [my mom] can lift 25 pounds with just one hand for her rows, and she is in disbelief every time,” Jeana wrote on Instagram earlier this month. “She’s never lifted anything that heavy in her life… and with ONE hand! It’s incredible to see, really. She’s feeling strong and getting stronger. I just love how she’s embraced the idea of progressive overload with such a ‘can do’ attitude! Her tendency, in fact, is to overdo it if I let her, so I have to watch her like a hawk. Every once in a while I let her really go for it.”
Ben has also made leaps and bounds on his fitness journey. A year after starting, he can perform three sets of eight squats with 85 pounds and two sets of 25 push-ups. “[Weight training] has increased his strength, mobility, and flexibility … and so much more,” Jeana raved in another Instagram post. “It’s hard to believe what our bodies and mindset are capable of achieving if given the chance. We didn’t set out for my dad to get this strong and fit!”
The benefits of weight training in your golden years
Jeana’s parents love how weight training has given them back their mobility and independence. Even better, the pain they once experienced in certain parts of their body has dropped. “My mom has arthritis in her hands and knees, and has had issues with her … feet for many many years,” Jeana wrote under the video of her mom. “But so far, she’s been coming over for her workouts and she has not had any arthritis flare-ups or pain.”
Prior to weight training, Ben experienced shoulder and arm pain. “I wanted to see a different expression on [my dad’s] face other than the permanent wincing scowl from the chronic pain in his arm he felt,” Jeana wrote in the post about her dad. “I wanted to try to slow down his fast track to becoming very frail … My parents didn’t even notice that there were any changes happening until I showed them clips of footage I had taken. After a month or so of training, my mom noticed that my dad was [no longer] grabbing his own arm to massage it constantly out of habit because of the pain he always felt in it. When she asked him about it, he realized that he didn’t have any pain.”
Of course, Kim and Ben had the advantage of weight training with a professional — their daughter — who could prevent injuries with careful instruction. So, if you want to start weight training, set up an appointment with a personal trainer. Even one monthly session can help you progress at the right level and avoid injury as you exercise on your own.
“How can 30 minutes twice a week do so much?” Jeana asked in a sentimental post looking back on a year of training with her parents. “How is it possible that a 30-minute, twice-a-week dose of positivity, concentration, movement, focus, challenge, laughter, encouragement, and love accomplish so much? I’m here to tell you that it has completely and absolutely changed everything.”
Want to start your own resistance and weight training journey? Check out Denise Austin’s total body, strength-training routine for beginners or her 15-minute core and back routine.
This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always consult your physician before pursuing any treatment plan.