The Need For Senior Fitness
The Florida Journal
They say “age is just a number”, to which I say…B.S!!! As Rocky Balboa said…the only undefeated athlete is Father Time. As we get older everyone, to some degree, has physical limitations. But you can slow the aging process by keeping yourself fit and healthy into your senior years. It takes commitment, dedication and willingness to compromise with your body, but it can be done. More and more seniors are doing it.
Jim Wright of Viera, Florida, is 72 years old. His goal is to bike from coast-to-coast across America next year. A retired engineer in the aerospace industry, Jim works out three days a week at Performax in Suntree. He plays golf, and regularly does 50-mile bike rides.
Jim’s personal trainer at Performax, Rod Stewart, says he caters to the older athletes. “The older we get we lose flexibility and mobility, so we start out extremely slow”. In some cases, when balance is an issue, they do chair exercises. “Every exercise session offers mobility training”.
Bending and stretching are important to older athletes. Yoga and Pilates are popular classes for the retirement crowd. The booming popularity of pickle ball is because of seniors who used to play tennis and now want a slower game and less court to cover.
Sandy Tristano Godfrey of Palm Bay, Florida, is 70 and blind, but that doesn’t keep her from working out. She walks several days a week with her guide dog, Dahlia. She goes to the gym on the days she doesn’t walk. “I’ve done 50 floors on the Stairmaster,” she proudly points out. With the help of a sighted guide, she also runs in the “Sprint For Sight” 5k every year.
Running has been a big part of Tom O’Bryan’s life for years. The Melbourne resident ran his first marathon is 1994, and went on to qualify for the Boston Marathon in 2000 and 2008. A high school English teacher, O’Bryan also coaches cross country. He’s 68-years-old and can be found running the Melbourne Bridge on weekends with his wife, Lisa.
Running may not be for everyone. But if you have a good sense of balance, cycling is good exercise into your 70’s and even 80’s. There is a group of riders, the ‘Mathers Maulers’, which meets every Saturday morning before dawn at the Starbucks in Indian Harbor Beach. Their rides are usually about 50 miles. Most riders are in their 70’s, and do more than ride their bikes. One member of the group is a powerlifter and state champion in his class. Another is a competitive swimmer.
If you are looking for something a little more sedate, many medicare supplement insurance plans offer Silver Sneakers. Seniors get free gym memberships and exercise classes specifically designed for older people. The classes also offer the opportunity to social network with other seniors.
Trainer Rod Stewart says “exercise is different than training”. Jim Wright is “training” for his bike trip, but most seniors are just “exercising” for better fitness and health. Set goals, make a commitment, and enjoy the health and social benefits that add to your life.
keywords- Florida, Fitness, Seniors, Aging