Staying fit at every age

Posted on: September 13, 2012

fitness for all agesThe relationship between physical fitness and wellness is one of the most researched areas of aging. As a key component of the whole person wellness model, the physical dimension encourages participation in activities that promote cardiovascular endurance, muscular strengthening and flexibility. Being physically active is vital to maintaining health and independence as we age. But, according to the National Institute of Health, only 25 percent of people aged 65 to 74 say they engage in regular physical activity. And while experts say people age 85 and older can benefit from exercise, only 11 percent report being active.

It's Never Too Late

The good news is that older adults can become fit at any age and reap the benefits. An article in the American Family Physician said: "Regular exercise has been shown to provide a myriad of benefits in older adults including improvements in cardiovascular, metabolic, endocrine and psychologic health." Most importantly, the article said it is never too late for older adults to benefit from physical activity.

Endless Choices

One of the greatest advantages of living at a Vi community is the comprehensive lifestyle programs that make it easy to participate in fitness activities. From yoga to low-impact exercises, as well as fitness centers and pools, the choices are endless. But, fitness can take many forms. For example, Vi at Bentley Village recently celebrated Senior Health and Fitness Day with a kayak outing on one of their lakes.

"One resident who just turned 90 couldn't get in the kayak fast enough," said Lifestyle Director Siobhan Mangan. "Many of the residents have also tried scuba diving," added Mangan. "Our residents place a great deal of focus on their physical well-being.

Fitness For The Ages

"It's not uncommon for them to be playing golf or tennis in the morning and swimming or visiting the fitness center in the afternoon," explained Mangan. "We do have a 'Three O'Clock Club', which is a group of residents that work out together each afternoon. A resident recently told me, 'young people think of fitness as a way to stay fit, we think of it as a way to stay healthy,' " she added.

For older adults who have not been active in recent years, one of the easiest ways to ease back into activity is walking - the most basic exercise there is, yet highly touted by the American Heart Association and other health experts. Whatever fitness path you choose, remember that achieving optimum wellness is a journey, and it's never too late to take the first step.

Learn more about Wellness at Vi