Exercising With the Seniors

Dad Lynn pumping iron

Awe. Inspiration. That's the only way I can describe how I felt watching this group of seniors, ages 82 to 95, as they went through their exercise routines. They sat at weight machines to pump iron. My Mom and another woman her age walked on the treadmill. My Dad hit the bike pedaling and pushing hard to get back to the level he had before Mom's fall and subsequent elbow replacement. At the end of the hour, their grad student assistant took the group through a series of stretches. 

Mom Marjorie in action

What inspired me most is watching Winn, a 95 year old gentleman who walked a bit hunched over using a cane. I'd met him a few years ago and I could tell he moved a bit slower now. But he moved well. He shared with me that every time he attends, he goes through his routine of  using 12 weight machines. He doesn't worry about the treadmill during that hour, he explained, because every day he walks on his home treadmill for 12 minutes, lamenting that he'd slowed down some. He used to do a daily 20 minutes. What a role model.

How many people in their 80's and 90's are too weak to accomplish their own self care tasks due to neglect of physical strength? Maintaining strong skeletal muscles is critical for movement as time goes on. Maintaining a strong heart is critical for life. Exercise is critical for living a quality life. Just ask Winn.

We're a nation of couch potatoes, but we're highly skilled at pushing buttons. Just one little push opens your garage door, changes the TV station, locks car doors, and cooks dinner from it's frozen state. The only exercise some people seem to get is walking to the kitchen for a refill. 

It's time we all thought about Winn and what activity and exercise does for enhancing quality of life  Now, about that walk...