'He's an inspiration': Spry centenarian celebrates 80th year as YMCA member

It can be tough for anyone to commit to an exercise routine for even a month, but Bill Atkinson has been going to the downtown Winnipeg YMCA for 80 years.

101-year-old Bill Atkinson still swims 6 days a week at downtown Y

Bill Atkinson, 101, has been a member of the downtown Winnipeg YMCA since 1938. (Supplied by Lindsay Ridgley)

It can be tough for anyone to commit to an exercise routine for even a month, but Bill Atkinson has been going to the downtown Winnipeg YMCA for 80 years.

At 101 years old, the man looks like he's in better shape than many people 20 years younger.

"I enjoy swimming. Keeps me active. It's exercise for your whole body," Atkinson said.

He first became a member of the downtown Y in 1938 and has maintained his membership ever since, except for two years when he served in the Second World War.

Atkinson swims six days a week, walking the one mile round-trip from his home every time.

"This is no small feat and we applaud him for his dedication," said Kent Paterson, CEO and president of the YMCA-YWCA of Winnipeg. "Bill is an inspiration to Y members of all ages and our staff."

The centre held a celebration on Tuesday, presenting Atkinson with a monogrammed towel to mark 80 years of membership.

Atkinson encourages anyone interested in exercising to find something they enjoy doing.

"Some people have no interest in swimming, but it's one of the best exercises you can do. Choose your own most comfortable and most satisfying exercises."