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Natural Awakenings Philadelphia

Changing Lives through Fitness for Those 55 and Up

by Yvonne “Fergie” Ferguson-Hardin

We go through many changes as we travel through life. Some of them we elect and others we don’t; some we accept willingly, while others we dread. Changes in the body happen to everyone. The physical effects are usually apparent, and bodies of men and women universally change around 50 years old. Studies have shown that when people begin to go though the mid-life change (some call it a mid-life crisis), their whole world begins to change around them, like a teenager going through puberty.

Women begin to retain excess weight around their abdomen and back, and men begin to get a larger belly (or beer gut, as it is sometimes called), which sometimes makes them look pregnant. Skin elasticity begins to change, and the way food is metabolized changes, too. The activities change for each sex and many elect to begin to slow down. Their inner chatter changes and they become less willing to try new things, continue exercising and take charge of what is happening to their bodies.

The Efficacy in Aging program targets men and women 55 and older. It has given hope to many and changed lives by enabling individuals to continue a full leisure lifestyle again. Yes, it is true that the body begins to slow down, the metabolism is not as it was in one’s 20s and 30s, however movement to maintain and improve body functions are still very necessary. Through specific stretching and functional fitness exercises, people are learning that the body is still a functional machine and they are able to maintain and improve movement by choosing to do it differently.

Through the Stretch 4 Life class and Fit Possibilities class, which make up the Efficacy in Aging program, participants are finding that they are able to still go for long walks with their family, continue a mean golf game, continue to maintain the upkeep of their homes and themselves, relieve chronic illness pains, improve their balance, lose weight and have a reason to make plans again that fit their new activity pattern. It is necessary to exercise at least three times weekly to maintain strong and healthy body systems. This is possible to do it by exercising at home or anywhere—even sitting in a chair. The Efficacy in Aging program shows that it can be done.

The promise of great affordable health insurance and a fantastic pension no longer exists for many people. The importance of maintaining our health for the security of a comfortable, enjoyable leisure lifestyle and extended lifespan is within reach for all. Get up, dress up and show up to take control and improve the future.

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