Seniors need fitness routine - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Valley And State

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Posted: Thursday, January 6, 2011 12:30 pm

Karen Miles started a comprehensive fitness program for herself four years ago and now she says she couldn’t be happier working out every day.

“I could feel I was losing the strength I once had,” Miles said. Miles was on osteoporosis medication for about 15 years before she started working out regularly, but she no longer needs to take it because the exercise helped build up bone strength. Her clothes fit better, too.

“It makes you feel younger,” she said.

Miles said her favorite part of working out is aerobic exercise, like line dancing and the dance fitness program Zumba. She is also a member of the Sun City Poms, which Miles said she wouldn’t be able to do if it wasn’t for her other exercise efforts.

Miles alternates strength training on her upper and lower body, doing one or the other every day, along with the various dance classes.

“You get into the habit, and then if you don’t come in, something’s wrong with your day,” she said.

Personal trainer Jane Fortier said Miles is a great example of how a person can really change their body composition with exercise.

Fortier said there are three important parts to exercising as you age: flexibility or stretching, strength training to combat muscle loss, and building stamina and endurance through aerobics.

Fortier showed a group of Sun Citians around the Bell Recreation Center fitness area Wednesday, with Miles demonstrating how to use the equipment, and talked about the importance of exercise as the body changes with age — it can lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, reduce stress and more.

Shirley and Marty Hoeft attended Fortier’s demonstration to learn more about the equipment and pick up any helpful tips.

“We’re both getting weaker,” said Shirley Hoeft, noting she wants to work on her arm and abdominal muscles.

The couple chatted with Helen Maye after the tour, who said she attended so she could also tell her husband about how to use the machinery, but she, too, wants to exercise.

“I just want as much exercise as I can get, I’m so tired of being stagnant,” Maye said.

Daily Fitness, Fortier’s employer, offers tours of the Sun City and Sun City West recreation centers, as well as personal training and consultations to get a workout program started off on the right foot.

“At 64, I do not consider it an option for me; it’s a necessity,” Fortier told the group about her own exercise habits.

Fortier emphasized the importance of using the weighted exercise machines correctly, with slow and controlled movements and a low amount of weight to begin with. And pay attention to the difference between good pain and bad pain, Fortier said; a burning feeling is good pain, but a sharp pain is bad.

“You can’t stop what aging is doing, but you can slow it down,” she said.

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