National Senior Citizens Day is Aug. 21; CDC says more than 1 in 4 US adults over 50 do not engage in regular physical activity
For people wanting to live healthy, active lives well into their golden years, flexibility and mobility are key to maintaining their ability to do the activities they enjoy. On a mission to help men and women ages 50 and above realize their own potential for fitness, wellness coach and fitness professional Heidi Weimer leads a special group class in Allen, Actively Aging, where she and her team focus on the specific needs of their older adult clientele.
In honor of National Senior Citizens’ Day, on August 21, Weimer and her team are recognizing National Senior Citizens Day, a recognition signed into law by President Reagan, on Aug. 21. On that Wednesday, Actively Aging classes will be offered from noon to 6 p.m. on a complimentary basis. To sign up, participants can call Heidi Weimer at (214) 403-6375 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“It’s about meeting people where they are and showing them what’s possible,” Weimer said. “As our bodies age, it’s important that we keep them moving, and building mobility and balance. There is a perception we want to change that fitness is only for young people, but the reality is that fitness is for everyone.”
Actively Aging sets itself apart as a group class with personal attention. With no more than eight individuals per class, instructors get to know each participant, as well as their goals and abilities. In this intimate setting, class participants bond and get to know each other in this safe, supportive environment. From recent retirees to men and women well into their 80s, from those who are independent and mobile to those who rely on wheelchairs or scooters, the class spans a wide range of ages and abilities. Weimer and trainer Janelle Carpenter lead the group through exercises that cater to participants’ individual needs and skill levels, even while they are accomplished together in a group setting.
John Darrouzet and his wife, Lynne, have participated in Actively Aging and has seen results that, he says, keeps him coming back.
“As my wife and I reached 60-plus years of age, we wanted to focus more on staying healthy and strong. We workout in never-boring, one-hour small chasses where we learn to use our muscles better in everyday situations, like climbing stairs with ease, walking with energy in our steps, and no longer having a fear of falling.”
Improving strength, balance, coordination and flexibility is important for everyone, but especially our older adults. In the Actively Aging instructor-led group fitness training class, participants find the support, motivation and social atmosphere to keep them engaged and pursuing their own personal best. The class lasts one hour and features appropriately challenging exercises and activities that help participants on gaining core strength and increasing joint function – important in their ability to maintain their independence, as well as reduce the risk of falls. Classes are held Monday through Saturday at the LIVEBalanced Studio in Allen.
A focus on older adult fitness could not come at a better time. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that one in four U.S. adults over the age of 50 do not engage in regular physical activity beyond the basic movements needed for everyday life, putting more than 31 million people at greater risk for heart disease, diabetes and cancer. The CDC found that inactivity was higher for women (29.4 percent) compared with men (25.5 percent), and, by region, inactivity was highest in the South (30.1 percent).
Being physically active helps older adults maintain the ability to live independently and reduces the risk of falling and fracturing bones. Active older adults also have a reduced risk of moderate or severe limitations and are less likely to suffer from falls. Being physically active can also improve mental health and delay dementia and cognitive decline, the CDC reported.
“Adults benefit from any amount of physical activity,” said Janet E. Fulton, Ph.D., chief of CDC’s Physical Activity and Health Branch and one of the authors of the report. “Helping inactive people become more physically active is an important step towards healthier and more vibrant communities.”
“For many of my Actively Aging clients, it’s less about running marathons and more about being able to run after grandkids, or continue gardening, or doing any of those day-to-day activities that we love. We also focus on injury prevention and building the strength and agility that naturally decline as we age and leave us more prone to falls.”
Weimer believes that with the right support, any older adult can be active at a level that makes sense for them. “When we’re strengthening muscles and focusing on balance, not only do they leave class with those benefits, but they are also more willing to be active in their lives outside of class. It provides that level of support they need to understand that they can stay active in a safe, supported way,” she said. “It’s not just about living longer lives: it’s about living healthier lives.”
An Allen resident, Weimer is a fitness professional with more than 15 years of experience. She is certified in AFAA Personal Training, Group Fitness, Boxing & Kickboxing, and Senior Fitness, and she is a Movement Specialist certified in Ortho Kinetics. Believing in the importance of balance, Weimer also holds multiple certifications in nutrition and sports nutrition, and creates meal plans, nutrition direction and counseling to clients of a variety of ages and backgrounds, from elite athletes to weekend warriors to elderly clientele. Actively Aging is a component of the LIVEBalanced Project, Weimer’s approach to wellness and lifestyle that focuses on balancing the various aspects of our lives to produce a better harmony. From fitness and nutrition to lifestyle, work, family and more, Weimer believes our lives are a constant evolution, a journey to achieving many goals along the way in a way that is balanced and healthy. Healthy movement is something she believes is important for everyone – especially adults over the age of 50.
For more information on Actively Aging, or to schedule a complimentary consultation, email Heidi@livebalancedproject.com.