DENVER – Three days a week around 10:30 a.m. Tommy and Jane White join about 50 other active, retired seniors for the Silver Sneakers exercise class at the LKN Athletic Club.
And on Monday, July 9, the couple, who recently celebrated 67 years of marriage, stuck around after class to share their story and spill the secrets to a happy and healthy life and marriage – a few classmates even stuck around to hear from what some call “the cutest couple.”
Charlotte natives Tommy and Jane White moved to the Lake Norman area about 40 years ago and have been in Denver for three years. Eager to meet people on the west side of the lake, the two were looking for groups to join together.
“(Jane’s) sister got us into it,” Tommy said of why they started Silver Sneakers. “She got us coming, and she quit, but we’re still doing it.”
Jane said the workouts get them out of the house and keep them moving in their retirement.
“We’ve never been into exercising,” Tommy said.
“Except for walking,” he and Jane said in unison.
The Silver Sneakers classes offer the couple something different by incorporating cardio and strength training. Some days focus on balance, yoga and stretching. And even though the pair is relatively new to the Silver Sneaker scene, they loved square dancing back in the day.
“That was when we were a lot younger,” Jane said of their earlier shared interests. “We didn’t have phones and all that stuff.”
And the two still prefer to get out and be with people, rather than watch TV or stay home.
“Exercising together is something that keeps you going,” Jane said. “It’s the socializing.”
Cassa Bennie, who also takes the Silver Sneakers class, agreed.
“I was a sitter (at work), and I always had a date with the sofa when I got home because I was just so tired,” Bennie said of her life before retirement. “I think (Silver Sneakers) is the best thing I’ve done for myself.”
Bennie said she’s loved meeting people like Tommy and Jane who are “always pleasant” and “just the cutest.”
Others standing by shared a similar admiration for the couple, but Tommy and Jane said marriage takes work, commitment and “you keep working” at it.
“I don’t know if there’s any secret,” Tommy said. “You get married to stay married. … We were so young, and we struggled for so long, we didn't have time to worry about other stuff.”
Jane said her No. 1 rule is to “never go to bed angry.”
And the two have lunch together every day out at a restaurant, no matter what.
“They’re just special people,” Bennie said after hearing Tommy and Jane reflect on their marriage. “I think they were put together for a reason. They’re just special.”