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Simply Fit, by Cindy Haskin-Popp, will help you make physical activity a part of everyday life. The health benefits of regular exercise and overall daily physical activity will be discussed. Fun, practical and easy-to-follow tips on an exercise program will be shared, as will the most current research. Fitness tips for families and seniors, on fitness centers and on buying proper and affordable equipment will be regularly given. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Trending Senior Fitness

Older adults who exercise regularly are able to maintain their independence and perform day-to-day tasks with ease.

For today's older adult, images of days spent as a frail senior citizen confined to a rocking chair are long gone. Now-a-days, individuals who are advanced in their years are more active than their peers from past generations. According to the findings from the Del Webb 2010 Baby Boomer Survey, more than 50 percent of adults ages 50 years and older engage in regular exercise. Data from this study also indicate that Baby Boomers perceive themselves to be much younger than their chronological age, with older Boomers (64+ years) stating that they feel 13 years younger than their actual age.

Why the difference in perception versus reality? Mindset is part of it, with the majority of those surveyed indicating that age is just a number. Many of the participants of the survey reported that a state of "happiness" and maintaining a "good sense of humor" were the main factors for feeling young. In fact, having a positive outlook on life is one of the major traits of fit and healthy older adults according to Darren Capik, Founder and President of Watch It Now Entertainment (WIN). WIN is the leader in fitness production and Capik directed two of Jane Fonda's fitness DVDs for seniors -- Jane Fonda Prime Time: Fit & Strong and Jane Fonda Prime Time: Walkout. During our phone interview, Capik noted that fit and healthy older adults, in general, tend to look on the bright side and are not hard on themselves .

Other traits consistent with healthy aging according to Capik include:
  • Keeping Busy: "They are constantly doing something," stated Capik. "Whether it is pursuing an interest in yoga, the Arts or healthy food, they are mentally active and engaged," he explained. The Del Webb study also addressed the need for older adults to keep busy in order to maintain their youthfulness. It reported that brain function is improved when the brain is challenged by new experiences.
  • Staying Active: "They all move," noted Capik, who is also a certified Crossfit Instructor and an expert in senior fitness. He recommends that older adults engage in some form of exercise at least five days per week to promote healthy aging. Exercise is very effective in offsetting the development and progression of certain health conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease that are often found in unfit, inactive older adults.
Capik recommends that older adults who are interested in increasing their activity level follow the steps below:
  • Step One: Do a self-evaluation. Ask yourself questions such as these: "Who am I?"...."What is currently going on in my life?"..."When was the last time I worked out?". Capik advised that you be honest with your responses. Answers to these questions will help you to understand your current status and will also help you to determine what you need to do to live a healthier life.
  • Step Two: Check with your doctor. If you have been inactive for a while or have risk factors for heart disease or question the safety of exercise, you should get the approval of your doctor. During the doctor's examination, he will be able to identify and advise you on the treatment required for any potential problems that could put you at risk.
  • Step Three: Start moving. Capik recommends that you go to an exercise class that is geared toward senior citizens. These classes will introduce you to simple, basic movements. As your body tolerates and becomes accustomed to this form of activity, he noted that you can start to lift light weights, which will help build your muscles and maintain your bone density. Capik stated that you need to continue to challenge your body even as you get older in order to counter the physiological elements that are changing with age.
If joining a group exercise class is not possible, there are many fitness DVDs available for seniors to use at home. Capik notes that the Jane Fonda Prime Time: Fit & Strong and Jane Fonda Prime Time: Walkout DVDs are a great introduction to exercise for seniors. Capik and Fonda held a focus group to create these DVDs. This allowed them to talk with seniors about the issues they face. Capik and Fonda had the focus group test out various exercises. From the outcome of this pilot study they developed a program that worked for seniors. Throughout the videos, Fonda talks to the user and communicates pertinent health and fitness information geared for the older adult. "Jane's philosophy is that seniors need to get moving because it will help improve quality of life," remarked Capik. There is truth to this philosophy. Exercise wards off debilitating health conditions which interfere with maintaining independence; and, exercise can manage and improve existing health conditions, allowing the older adult to be able to perform day-to-day tasks with greater ease.

Darren Capik, Founder and President of Watch It Now Entertainment, directed Jane Fonda's Prime Time: Fit & Strong and Prime Time: Walkout DVDs.  (Photo Courtesy of EFG:: Entertainment Fusion Group)

What is the key to acquiring and maintaining fitness into the later years? "Its not the quality of the exercise, but the quality of the motivation," noted Capik. "By becoming very engaged and active with the world, it gets your mind moving and opens the gateway to want to exercise and to eat better, which ultimately leads to you wanting to live," explained Capik.

Phone Interview: Darren Capik, Founder and President of Watch It Now Entertainment; January 25, 2012.

Del Webb 2010 Baby Boomer Survey

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