Seniors Want to Get Fit!

Message received:  Getting older doesn’t mean giving up on health.

An article in today’s News & Observer reports that more senior living communities and facilities are offering state-of-the-art fitness machines to keep up with the demand by residents. Previously ignored, senior fitness is now a burgeoning business.

“Change came slow; however, now it is happening at a frantic pace,” said Colin Milner, CEO of the International Council on Active Aging. Now, he says, communities have their own fitness facilities with the best equipment money can buy.

In North Carolina, the issue is of particular importance due to our status as an ideal retirement destination. Warmer than the north, but without the relentless heat of Florida, North Carolina is the go-to spot for new retirees… and current residents don’t plan on migrating away. By 2020, our senior population is projected to increase by 88%–from about 70,000 now to about 128,000.

The benefits are obvious:  Greater endurance and strength… prevention of muscle deterioration… and improved balance to prevent falls. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the leading cause of injury deaths and trauma hospital admissions, and each year more than one-third of adults 65 and older fall.

In the newspaper article, Janie Clark, a physical therapist and president of the American Senior Fitness Association, offered these exercise tips for seniors (check with your doctor, first):

  • Walk or swim. Taking a walk can get your heart pumping and blood flowing.
  • Strength train. Lift dumbbells or tug resistance bands.
  • Stretch. Sit up straight and try to bring your shoulder blades together.
  • Practice your balance. Hold a chair as a support and stand on one foot.

The National Institute on Aging has “The Age Page” on its website with more health and exercise tips for seniors. You can also order the institute’s free book by going to and searching for “Exercise and Physical Activity: Getting Fit For Life.” The book will be available later this summer.

To find a senior community that offers exercise and wellness options, visit the International Council on Active Aging website at Scroll over “Consumer Section” and click “Facility/services locator.”

To read the full article:

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