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Elderly Syrian Woman's Passion for Sports ‘From the Cradle to the Grave’

Elderly Syrian Woman's Passion for Sports ‘From the Cradle to the Grave’

Friday, 30 July, 2021 - 09:15
77-year-old trainer Nawal Bayrakdar. Reuters

Nawal Bayrakdar, a 77-year-old physical trainer, runs between aerobics classes. She gives 12 lessons per week, and says that sports are not only beneficial for her physical health but are especially beneficial for her mental health after her five children departed from Syria, leaving her alone, according to Reuters.

After training in several gyms for 35 years, Nawal was able to open her own gym, Umm Ammar Bayrakdar Club, 15 years ago. The gym serves women in her city of Salmiyah on the outskirts of Homs. She says that exercise cures all diseases, “a 100% treatment for everything, most importantly psychological therapy, and treatment for the vertebrae, the joints, the knees, and anything that comes to your mind can be treated with exercise.”

Six days per week, 50 women of different age groups attend the club and train not only to increase their physical fitness, but also to learn from Nawal the benefits of sports. Nawal is an avid reader of athletics books and the author of her own book titled “Sports from the Cradle to the Grave”. It seems that her age and her passion for sports are what attract women to her classes.

The subscription fee to the Bayrakdar Club is a nominal 3,500 lira ($1.2) per month. She prefers encouraging more women to exercise in order to make more profits. In addition to being a sports coach at this age, Nawal leads a rich life in which she practices many activities such as cooking, reading and meeting neighbors and friends.

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