Active Adult Fitness - Regular Exercise Is Important
“USE IT OR LOSE IT”
Sometimes, as residents stride purposefully into the Shenandoah Community Fitness Center, they call out to one another teasingly, “use it or lose it!” Shenandoah is well equipped to address the “use it or lose it” principle. The Fitness Center is state-of-the-art, with free weights, treadmills, elliptical trainers and cycles, the latest circuit training equipment, a spacious aerobics and yoga room, and a generous lap pool.
The science of fitness has a clear message: if you don’t get enough physical activity, your muscles will eventually stop doing what they need to do to keep you strong. Muscles, heart, and bones weaken when they are not sufficiently used (and we mean movement beyond sprinting to the freezer to get an ice cream bar!). Exercise must be regular, and it must place enough (good) stress on the body to make it worthwhile.
Your body adapts to your lifestyle, which is why some septuagenarians are running marathons. But you don’t have to be a long distance runner to be in fine shape, and to look forward to many years of well being. Moderate exercise performed regularly three or four times a week will do the job.
Beyond keeping your heart, bones and muscles strong, exercise can increase energy, reduce stress, improve sleep, insure better balance, and help control your weight to prevent obesity (experts generally define obesity as a waistline over 35 for women and 42 for men). Exercise slows the aging process by keeping the diseases and nuisances of old age at bay. It lowers the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and certain cancers, especially those of the breast, uterus, and colon.
Retirement has been a time when people started moving less. Sports, home maintenance, walking long distances and other activities that involve movement are replaced by sedentary activities such as reading, playing cards, and watching TV. But today’s Boomers are skiing, swimming laps, playing tennis, organizing touch football games and coaching Little League. At the Shenandoah community, thanks to Activities Director Kisha Phillips and the Activities Committee, something “active” is happening every single day.
It’s hard to think about the infirmities of extreme old age when we’re not there yet, but no one wants to arrive at a someday in which it is difficult to climb stairs or to rise unassisted from a seated position. Whether it happens in the Shenandoah Fitness Center or in the form of gardening, housework, or running after grandchildren, exercise is the prerequisite for well being in old age.