More than 32 million baby boomers will turn 60 years old this year. Thus begins the era for senior fitness.Although baby boomers have proven to be a health-conscious cohort, many boomers remain inactive. Others need fitness guidance and support as they mature.Becoming a senior represents many changes in your life. For example, retirement and withdrawal from the “working world” signify leading a new life. For many women, hormone changes signify managing a new body.However, there are fitness tasks that seniors can use to minimize, and even reverse, physical signs of aging. Mastering these skills can improve the transition to senior aging. And it is possible to learn and master these skills at any age.The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that lack of recreational activity contributes greatly to the decline of physical exercise observed in older adults. So, as you age, keep playing. Most importantly, maintain fitness levels with the sports and recreational activities that you enjoy.Seniors who are not engaged in regular physical activity are surrounded by opportunities to change their lives. Amazing health is a journey, and one that every human experiences in different stages.If you have no serious medical conditions, you can start a fitness program at any age. Seeking help from a certified fitness professional is encouraged. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), one of the world’s leading organizations for senior adults, has a vast library of information available for seniors starting to exercise. AARP suggests hiring a personal trainer, saying that “the trainer is a motivator and educator who makes exercise fun and interesting. You can work with a trainer to develop safe and effective exercise routines to help you reach your personal goals.”In collaboration with the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA), AARP suggests finding a trainer whose personality, education and experience fit your style and needs. The ICAA notes that it is especially important to hire trainers who have specifically worked with older adults and physically-challenged populations.In addition to professional support, it is important to seek social support for your fitness goals. An ongoing study noted in the Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, on osteoarthritis and exercise, determined that social support fosters exercise adherence among people with osteoarthritis.Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop started “Shape Up America!” Through this organization, one can find information about exercise, body fat, heart rate, and how to modify your program for individual needs.Technological advances further encourage exercise adherence and education. Heart rate monitors, step-counters for walking, and other simple gadgets, are available to monitor progress and keep you motivated.Active seniors have the skills to stay fit and the skills to enjoy life!Nina Schnipper is a certified fitness trainer and a member of the American Senior Fitness Association. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.Glossary Balance training: Closely related to strength training, balance activities build up leg muscles and provide greater stability. Endurance training: Aerobic activities that increase heart rate and breathing. Flexibility training: Stretching activities that increase freedom of movement, preventing injuries and improving posture. Strength training: Activities that build muscle and strengthen bone.
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