Senior Power Hour

Exercise vital at every age

The amount of weight lifted and the number of reps completed might not be as high as they used to be, but getting that exercise in later years is just as important as it was back in the younger days.

In fact, exercise is vital at just about every stage of life.

Seniors in the Verde Valley have a number of options when attempting to stay in shape. One of those options includes the "sit and fit" classes held three times a week at Everybody's Workout in Cottonwood.

"I've been at this thing for about three years," Neil McLeod said.

The 90-year-old said he's lost about eight pounds and feels better after a workout class.

"You sit down through most of it, which is good," he said.

Fitness instructor and gym owner Lori Maine said the senior class is a special one. Many of the participants come each week and have been at it for years. She carefully takes each person's limits into consideration. A health history is taken on every gym member when they first join.

The class routines stay consistent and are designed to fit everyone's skill level.

Classes start with warm ups. Strength training for the upper and lower body, stretching and a little bit of cardio is used throughout the class. Most of the class is completed while sitting. There is also a senior yoga class offered that also uses a chair but focuses more on stretching.

A senior's level of fitness can improve just like anyone else's.

"They can do a lot," Maine said. "Start off slow, that's all. It's never too late."

Maine suggests that seniors get exercise at least three times a week. Exercise can help seniors to live longer and have a better lifestyle, Maine said.

Betty Brumley attends the "sit and fit" classes and says the workout is a good one.

"It gets your blood pumping," Brumley said.

There are many misconceptions about aging and the ability to keep in shape. According to Maine, much of the physical frailty associated with aging is actually the result of muscular disease and poor diet.

"Through proper eating habits and a regular exercise program, these problems can be halted or even reversed," Maine said. "With the combination of good exercise and proper eating habits, you can improve in cardiovascular endurance, muscle strength and flexibility, as well as, stimulate the formation of new bone tissue."

Seniors don't only have to attend a class to get their workout in. Depending on their comfort level and ability, many exercises are an option.

"It's just a matter if you're consistent," Maine said. "You can only progress."

She's been teaching seniors for the past 10 years, and seven of those have been at Everybody's Workout. To encourage seniors to start a workout program, Maine offers one free week at her gym for seniors.

"Although there comes a time when your muscle can only be maintained but not expanded, the rate of decline can be slowed down through regular exercise," Maine said. "Now is the time to enjoy your senior years."

Everybody's Workout is located at 1100 S. Arizona 260 #12 in the Cottonwood Fry's Shopping center. For more information, call 639-4706.

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