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Milford Beacon
  • Local seniors make year-round dedication to active lifestyles

  • Working out, losing weight and eating healthier are popular New Year’s resolutions, but for the senior crowds at a local Milford gym and the Milford Senior Center, those goals aren’t limited to the beginning of the year.
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  • Working out, losing weight and eating healthier are popular New Year’s resolutions, but for the senior crowds at a local Milford gym and the Milford Senior Center, those goals aren’t limited to the beginning of the year.
    Delaware Fitness owner Kim Wingrove said she always sees an increase in clients from January to March, but that a decrease after those initial months is inevitable. But Wingrove said the senior clients, who make up approximately 25 percent of the gym’s frequent users, are not usually part of that crowd.
    “My seniors are usually very faithful. They’re coming all year-round,” Wingrove said. “They stay steady all year-round.”
    Although Delaware Fitness doesn’t offer any senior-specific classes, Wingrove said the staff enjoy helping seniors learn new equipment and what will work best for them to stay fit or gain strength.
    “When you hit a certain age, you try to hold on to life and things start happening, you start losing muscle tone and it affects your health,” Wingrove said. “[The seniors] are looking for different effects. A lot of seniors go to the doctor, get blood work and learn that a lot of issues, like cholesterol, could be eliminated by simple exercise. With just 30 days of exercise, your outside might not change, but your inside will. Seniors are seeing that. It’s truly amazing what can change on the inside of your body with simple exercise, three or four times a week.”
    Carol Grandfield, 69, who started at Delaware Fitness about a month ago, said she can already feel the positive effects of regular exercise, and considers working on the treadmill and elliptical as strength training for what she needs to accomplish.
    Grandfield, who suffers from osteoporosis and arthritis, said that it used to take her at least five minutes to get the strength to get out of a car, a task that would cause immense pain to her hips. Now, she said that pain is nearly gone.
    “For older people, men and women, it’s important to work on keeping strength or gaining more strength. It makes a world of difference for recovery times and keeping a positive mental attitude,” Grandfield said.
    While seniors at the gym are left to their doctor and gym staff’s recommendations as to what will work for them, the Milford Senior Center offers a variety of exercise classes to reach every level of fitness, from chair exercises to yoga and tai chi classes.
    For those with mobility issues, the chair exercise classes offer an alternative to other programs to allow seniors to stay active despite physical constraints.
    Karen McFadden, program and activity coordinator at Milford Senior Center, said there is usually an increase in programs in January, but that she has seen a general increase in senior participation.
    Page 2 of 2 - “A lot of our seniors have a year-long commitment to being active, but usually we do see an increase in our programs right after the first of the year,” McFadden said. “They’re getting more savvy as far as the importance of physical activity. There’s an increased awareness and push. It’s also that they are hearing more about it.
    Personal trainer Steve Shane said with a wide array of senior abilities, it’s important for them to set goals as to what they want to accomplish through exercise, consulting a doctor when necessary.
    “Everyone’s looking for the fountain of youth and this is the closest you can get to it,” he said. “But the seniors seem to be more dedicated because they’re the older, wiser crowd. Instead of looking at just the physical benefits, there’s a wide spectrum of benefits to exercise.”
    For those seniors looking to exercise but not interested in going to the gym, Shane encourages simply being more active around the house by moving around instead of sitting or making an effort to take a longer walk outside or with the dog.
    But Shane’s grandmother, Joyce Glenn, who has been going to Delaware Fitness three times a week for 13 years, said that dedication to going to the gym doesn’t work without a healthy diet as well.
    “The gym doesn’t work without a healthy diet. It’s better than medications,” the 68-year-old Milford resident said. “It keeps you right where you need to be.”
    Glenn advises seniors that dedication to a healthy lifestyle is the most important part.
    “Take it slow and put it into your weekly routine. Try to be [at the gym] at least three days a week,” Glenn said. “It doesn’t matter what time you come in, just that you come.”

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