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LAKE WYLIE --
Physical activity and proper nutrition are important at any age, but particularly critical for senior citizens.
“Research has shown that regular physical activity helps in preventing a broad range of health problems and disease,” says Rachel Logue, manager of the Lake Wylie Sportscenter Athletic Club at Lake Wylie Plaza.
Activities that help build muscle strength, improve balance and promote walking can reduce falling.
“Regular exercise can enhance feelings of well being and self confidence, and potentially reduce feelings of depression, anxiety and loneliness,” Logue said.
The Healthways SilverSneakers Fitness Program at Sportcenter is designed to help older adults expand their social network, strengthen friendships and stay active members of the community, Logue said. SilverSneakers is offered at the Sportscenter and local YMCA branches.
Joan Spriet knows the benefits of regular exercise.
“I’ve been active my entire life, but now I have some balance issues,” the 77-year-old Lake Wylie resident said. “I regularly walk on the treadmill and occasionally do water aerobics [in Rock Hill].”
She works out for about 45 minutes at least twice per week. Her favorite part of exercising is at the end of the workout.
“I feel so much better and I love the camaraderie,” she said.
The Sportscenter also offers informational programs designed to complement SilverSneakers. A recent session featured holistic health coach Nita Ewald talking about the 12 most pervasive and detrimental food additives/substances that can impact one’s health. These sessions are open to anyone, not just SilverSneakers members.
Ray Malinowski of Lake Wylie began exercising because he had to. Was ordered to, that is. The 80-year-old former Marine puts guys half his age to shame. He’s a fierce tennis player and plays four to five times every week for two to three hours.
“I began exercising in 1948 and haven’t stopped since,” Malinowski said.
His daily routine begins at 6 a.m. with 30 minutes of stretching, followed by tennis.
“If I don’t stretch, then there’s a lot of unhappiness that follows,” he said.
Following tennis, lunch and a short rest, he works out with weights (10 to 18 pounds) for 40 minutes. After that, he relaxes by throwing tennis balls to his neighbors’ German shepherds.
“When they get tired, I quit,” he said.
Logue says you’re never too old to exercise. If you haven’t exercised in a while, consult with your doctor, and if you get the green light, put on your sneakers and get moving, she says. About 65 percent of the SilverSneakers participants have never been in a gym before, she said.
Malinowski, who is rarely sick, credits good genetics and daily exercise.
“Exercise is about the best thing a human being can do for a good quality of life,” Malinowski said.
Tips for staying active
1. Engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate activity, like brisk walking, five or more days a week.
2. Include strength training at least twice a week to improve and maintain muscle strength and endurance.
3. Gentle forms of yoga and tai chi help promote flexibility, improve balance and increase strength.
4. If you have difficulty with your mobility, perform moderate amounts of low-impact activities such as swimming, water exercises or stretching.
To find out if you are eligible for SilverSneakers, check your health insurance or check it out online at silversneakers.com.