Special to the Recorder
Now more than ever, our nation is taking part in the movement to keep moving! February is Fitness Frenzy month for local seniors at Camellia at Deerwood Senior Living Community. The purpose is to get moving, get healthy and raise money to make a difference in the life of children and families in need though The Children’s Home Society.
The benefits of staying active as we age have long been documented.
“The importance of being in good physical shape has its benefits,” said Robin White, Prime Fit instructor at Camellia at Deerwood. “You can perform activities of daily living effectively with good levels of strength, endurance, flexibility and cardio fitness.”
Increasing one’s level of activity reduces the likelihood of developing diseases such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer, White added.
“A good way to track your movement is with an inexpensive pedometer,” she said. “It’s a fun way to track your success and it helps to keep you motivated.”
During February Fitness Frenzy, seniors and staff of Camellia at Deerwood will participate in any kind of activity that gets them moving. For instance, walking, jogging, water aerobics, fitness classes, biking, swimming, shuffle board, dancing, Wii Bowling, Bocce Ball, Tai Chi, personal training are all fair game. At the end of the month, the minutes of exercise will be tallied and funds raised will be donated to the charity.
Camellia at Deerwood resident Jo is a perfect example of how leading an active lifestyle can benefit you as you age.
“I grew up with three younger brothers – I had to exercise to keep up with them,” said Jo, who is now in her 90s. “We played basketball and all kinds of sports.”
Jo went on to major in Physical Education and taught elementary, junior and senior high school students for 20 years. She also played on the U.S. Women’s Lawn Bowl team and traveled to many countries.
“Now that I am a senior, I see the benefits of regular exercise to maintain well-being, balance and overall physical fitness,” said Jo, who counts bocce ball among her favorite Camellia at Deerwood activities. “For many years I was a promoter of exercise, and now I am a living example.”
In addition to physical benefits, maintaining an active lifestyle also boosts self-confidence and mood. It can be a big stress reliever, and exercising in a group is a great way to make new friends. There are creative ways to exercise even for those who dread working out, such as listening to music while lifting weights, stretching, window shopping and walking on the beach. It is never too late to start.
“It is so amazing to watch a resident enter our program with limited mobility and progress to a point that they feel their independence has been renewed,” said Perry Brown, general manager at Camellia at Deerwood. “Fitness isn’t just for the young: We have many success stories of residents who regain strength and balance. And oh, yes – they have fun doing it.”
Victoria Proctor is a sales advisor at Camellia at Deerwood, located at 10061 Sweetwater Parkway in Jacksonville.