'Use it or lose it': Senior couple makes weekly trek up Mt. Olympus

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SALT LAKE CITY — The Bartholomas are young at heart. Nothing keeps them off of Salt Lake City’s beautiful hiking trails, including their age.

Bart, 87, and his wife, LaRae, 71, hike Mount Olympus every Saturday morning without fail.

“No questions asked — rain or shine,” Bart said.

They’ve hiked the trail hundreds and hundreds of times over the years.

Sometimes Bart sneaks ahead of his wife, but he always checks in on his sweetie, in case something happens, with their walkie-talkies.

Their secret to longevity? “Use it or lose it, and we use it,” Bart said.

Every Friday night, the Bartholomas lay their hiking packs and poles by the door; Bart said this commits them to the hike.

“Then when we wake up, there they lay and it says: you got to go,” he said.

LaRae said her husband keeps her going. “Fortunately, our health permits us to do these things, and we’re doing them together, and we'll continue doing as much as we can as long as we can,” she said.

The couple tries to not sit too much during the day. “I watch the news in the morning when I eat breakfast and that’s it,” Bart explained.

They say staying active is the key to their happiness. “We’ve done pretty much everything we want to do,” LaRae said.

“Some days, you don’t feel like going, but we’ve never ever been sorry we did it. Never!” Bart said.

Intermountain Healthcare geriatrician Dr. Angel Lybbert said it's never too late to start exercising. “You can have more good years if you are physically active,” Lybbert said.

She encourages everyone to start moving. “The body really preserves its ability to adapt to exercise, even into old age,” Lybbert explained.

The Bartholomas said they plan to keep moving another 20 years.

“It’s close, and the view is great, and the exercise is wonderful,” Bart said.


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