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Pumping iron at 90: Great grandmother Margaret raises the bar

USQ Sport and Exercise Clinic gives Margaret Loveday a new lease on life.

A 90-year-old great grandmother who can deadlift 25kg like she’s picking up packed suitcases has a new lease on life thanks to USQ's Sport and Exercise Clinic.

Margaret Loveday’s main form of exercise used to be a gentle walk around a sports oval, up until she joined the Ipswich clinic at the start of the year as part of her rehabilitation for a badly compressed spine.

She had never stepped foot in a gym, but within a year of joining the clinic, she’s now able to deadlift half her body weight, squat while wearing a 10kg weight vest, and shoulder press with a 5kg dumbbell in each hand.

Margaret said increasing her strength, balance and movement have had a dramatic impact on her daily life.

“The fall I had more than 12 months knocked my confidence quite a bit because I was worried I would never feel well again, but going to the clinic has helped my state of mind, as well as my body,” she said.

“These exercises have done wonders for the pain and given me a lot more confidence in my abilities and what I can do. It’s changed my life.”

Margaret attends the clinic every week and said working out makes her feel stronger and happier.

“It’s what I look forward to every week,” she said.

“Exercise is something everyone should do, no matter how old you are – it’s never too late to start.”

Helping her every step, lift and squat of the way has been USQ fourth-year student Frazer Turner, who she credits for the confidence she gained both inside and outside of the clinic.

The pair recently had their last session together, as Mr Turner has now completed his studies and is set to graduate with a Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science honours degree in Clinical Exercise Physiology next year.

During his degree, Mr Turner undertook placements at the clinic, where he performed supervised assessments and exercise programs for a wide range of clients, including Margaret.

He also works as a resource manager at the Enoggera Army Barracks in Brisbane where he runs exercise programs for soldiers.

They’re a far cry from the workouts he puts Margaret through, which have been adapted to accommodate her health needs and physical abilities.

However, Mr Turner said Margaret’s determination and dedication was unmatched, and an inspiration to young and old alike.

“Margaret is hands down one of my favourite clients,” he said.

“She turns up on time, every time, and has only missed two sessions since she started in January.

“She makes progress every week and is always prepared to learn. At 90, you need to be eager to learn new things, not only to get yourself physically active but also to keep your brain active at the same time.

“Her face lights up every time she walks in because she knows that despite how hard the session might be for her, she can see the benefits and feel the rewards.

“One day when she told me she was no longer in pain really made my day because that’s the main reason why I do this.”

Margaret turns 91 on December 23 and while she has a new student leading her program, she has no plans to slow down.

“I will continue to go until I feel 100 per cent again, and at my age I will probably never be 100 per cent, so I won’t be giving it up,” she said.

The USQ Sport and Exercise Clinic provides the University’s students with the chance to develop and practice their skills while providing the community with a low-cost exercise rehabilitation service.

For more information, contact 3812 6104 or visit

Woman holding dumbbells
Margaret Loveday works up a sweat in the USQ Sport and Exercise Clinic.