Rock Hill man, 66, stays young with exercise – and helping others exercise

08/10/2014 12:00 AM

08/10/2014 10:25 AM

Nobody calls 66-year-old Ormand Gale by his first name.

He is “Skip” to everyone at the Charlotte Avenue branch of the Upper Palmetto YMCA, where Gale works part-time and works out at least four days a week.

The name Skip Gale fits because he moves with a quick pace and no wind can stop him. After a heart attack a dozen years ago, Gale knew he had to be more active and take better care of himself.

“If there was something sweet to eat, I found it,” Gale said.

After his cardiac rehabilitation, Gale changed his diet and added workouts to his daily routine. He worked first at the YMCA in Florence, and now in Rock Hill after moving to York County.

He shows people how to use machines and is known all over the YMCA building. Fast and on the move all the time. And now that Gale is officially a senior citizen – although nobody has ever had the courage to call the stout Gale a senior anything – his exercise regimen is important to a healthy, active life.

“When you exercise, you feel better,” Gale said. “You have more energy. You learn that water is better than reaching for a sugary soda. You eat better. Being active and healthy makes your whole life more rewarding.”

Joyce Davis, membership coordinator at the YMCA, said Gale – with an eternal smile and a spring in his step – is an example for people of any age that exercise and active living are attainable.

“Skip really shows what motivation can do,” Davis said.

Gale’s routine includes walking a couple of miles at least four days a week, lifting weights and using exercise machines that keep his muscles taut from chest to legs. He works out on “cardio” machines that are designed to keep the heart and lungs strong, and he helps others who need advice or just encouragement.

Gale also gets inspiration from watching the YMCA’s other older members. Some seniors who exercise regularly are far older than Gale – some in 70s, 80s and 90s.

“There is an old saying that age is just a number, and when you reach your mid-60s you realize that is true,” Gale said. “You can feel tired and old. Or you can exercise, be active, try to eat right and feel as young as any age you want to be.”

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