The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
There’s no age limit for a good workout
BY LINDLEY ESTES
THE FREE LANCE-STAR
Between walking on a treadmill and doing leg-lifts and then informing staff about the progress of his azaleas, 80-year-old Jim Carder cracks exercise jokes during his weekly training session at Fredericksburg Fitness on Cowan Boulevard.
“I’ve spent my whole life trying to get on the ball,” he said to lead trainer Mary Cooper while working out on a large yoga ball.
Carder, of Hartwood, has worked out at the fitness center for over a year and, instead of sticking to fitness goals, he views his progress as a moving target.
“I just want to keep working out,” he said.
He said staying fit has been harder since he retired from the Navy.
Cooper said becoming sedentary is a major issue for most seniors, and personal training helps them remain active by carefully easing them into a workout regimen.
“The focus here is on functional movement,” she said.
Intern Samantha Jones, who recently graduated from Liberty University with a degree in exercise science, counts Carder among her favorite clients.
He’s so genuinely nice,” she said. “And he picks things up so fast.”
Carder, with Jones as his sponsor, is taking part in the gym’s challenge to walk 30 miles in 60 days.
“He only has 13 miles left,” she said.
Carder’s exercises include walking to warm up, training with small weights for strength and working on balance with exercise balls.
“I feel good,” he said. “And I’m socializing, enjoying the company of real people.”
He said he most likes the exercises he has trouble doing because they help the most.
“When something’s stiff it means it’s not working,” he said.
Fredericksburg Fitness, like many gyms in the area, does senior-specific training such as yoga, which is altered to be less impactive.
Capping the class size at four ensures sure each gets a personalized workout.
“With all seniors, working on core strength is key,” owner Jennifer Korzen said. “You have to start with good stability in the core.”
According to the Mayo Clinic, daily activity over the age of 50 goes a long way to control weight, combat health conditions and diseases, improve mood, boost energy and promote better sleep, all of which are seen as key areas of concern for most seniors.
Carder said the mood boost is one thing he gets from time on the treadmill.
“When I get a little depressed I jump on the treadmill,” he said. “It gets oxygen to my brain.”
Local YMCAs also offer senior fitness classes. The Massad Branch YMCA in Stafford County offers a “Young at Heart” class twice per week that focuses on heart health but also combines strength training in the workout.
American Family Fitness at Massaponax in Spotsylvania County tailors classes to seniors as well.
Assistant general manager Alex Kelly–Maartens said the water classes are especially popular with the over-60 age group.
“It’s just important to keep moving,” she said.
She said it is important to have a support group to stay accountable and focus on functional movement.
An exercise that’s good to try at home, she said, are low-impact squats with minimal knee bend and a wide stance, then narrowing the stance as leg strength builds.
Lindley Estes: 540/735-1976