Fit at any age

shutterstock_383296726For more than two decades, May has been a time to focus on fitness for older adults. The last Wednesday in May is observed as National Senior Health and Fitness Day, with the goal of helping older Americans keep healthy and fit. This year’s observance is May 25. And it’s also Older Americans Month, which has been observed since 1963.

Bev Stephens, RehabCare’s wellness coordinator, says fitness is an attainable goal for any person at any age. She teaches four classes a week at Farmington Presbyterian Manor, each lasting half an hour, that emphasize strength, flexibility and balance – all key to helping older adults maintain both their health and their independence.

“My classes aren’t as simple as you might think,” Bev said. “They really get a good workout. It’s a high level for seniors, and they do a good job.”

At the same time, Bev said, she never pushes someone to work beyond their capabilities. She has only two rules: have fun, and work at your own level. All of her exercises can be modified, so that everyone can adjust to their own abilities and still get a benefit.

“I really try to be their advocate so they can trust me,” she said “They know I have their best interests at heart.”

Bev watches for signs of imbalance or weakness in her students, so she can refer them to therapy before serious problems set in.

The free Senior Fitness Testing is another way residents can check in with their physical condition and make easy corrections now.

Bev also gives the monthly Healthy Learning Lecture on topics that are relevant to residents.

May is the perfect time to try a new activity or to refocus on your physical health. Remember the theme for Health and Fitness Day 2016, “Improve Your Health for a Better Self.”