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High 5: 83-Year-Old Inspires With Dedication to Fitness, Friendship

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah — In the basement of the Harman Senior Recreation Center in West Valley City, you find the sweet sounds of the 60s. You’ll also find a group dedicated to fitness, led by 83-year-old instructor Joyce Bangerter.

“She comes rain or shine, she comes early, brings her own music,” Luanna Thorp says.

About five years ago the senior fitness class lost its instructor due to funding cuts, so Joyce stepped in as a volunteer. She has been leading the kicks, squats and bends twice a week ever since.

“I just love her, she just amazes me,” Carol McLaughlin says.

We dropped in on Joyce’s class to thank her for all the years of giving back — for free.

“I get paid by friendship and me being in good condition because I exercise,” she says.

We also had a little present: a wireless headset and speaker.

“So now everyone here can hear you loud and clear as you are yelling out those instructions.”

There was also one more fun surprise: Joyce’s family, who attended her class for the first time during our High 5.

“At 83, shes fantastic. I can barely keep up with these exercises right now,” Joyce’s son Kurt Bangerter says.

“I may have to go to a lower class first and build up to this,” her other son Vyrl Bangerter says.

Not everyone can attend Joyce’s class. You have to be at least 60.

But if you ask anyone who regularly attends, they’ll tell you it’s Joyce’s upbeat attitude that brings joy to their lives.

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