Dan Ritchie is president and co-founder of the Functional Aging Institute, the nation’s leading business source for gyms and studios helping people over 55. He also has his own studio, Miracles Fitness, in West Lafayette, Indiana. So, he has valuable perspective as a consultant, coach and business owner.
Dan spoke recently with us and a group of fitness professionals from around the country. Here are some thoughts he shared about how fitness for “older” people is shaping up during and after Covid-19.
As you know, more states are loosening restrictions on businesses, and gyms in some states have been allowed to reopen.
Dan says it’s important for everyone in this demographic to keep exercising on a regular basis – regardless of current regulations or guidelines in each state. So, whether you’re at home or willing and able to go to a fitness center, take charge of your fitness every day.
“Exercise is vital for functional longevity, no matter how you do it,” says Dan, who has a doctoral degree in Health & Kinesiology from Purdue University. “You can’t afford to take two months off.”
That’s why many gyms, including ours, have provided online training, video workouts and more to keep people moving and motivated. Our clients have been loving our Tai Chi:Fit and LifeStretch programs that they have been asking for us to expand our offering—and in the days to come—we will!
The vast majority of older people don’t exercise at all – and that was true even before the coronavirus hit.
The US government and the World Health Organization say adults should get 150 minutes of moderately intense cardio exercise per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous activity. Also, we should all participate in resistance training at least twice a week to maintain strength, balance, bone health and more.
After age 50 or so, exercise becomes even more important to help maintain physical and mental health – and to maintain social bonds. During the coronavirus lockdown, it has been easy for many “older” people to stay at home and risk not only inactivity but also isolation. That’s another reason it’s important to reach out to family and friends.
Online training has been a surprise hit with mature people who have found it a great way to stay in touch with others.
Dan also calls it “ageism” to perpetuate the myth that mature people can’t learn to use technology, like Zoom on a computer, to stay active. We definitely know that one’s not true, given how many of you are participating in our online workouts!
If it’s time to return to the gym or studio, make sure you’re satisfied about cleanliness practices.
“The consumer has to know that fitness is vitally important, but that doesn’t mean they should feel like they’re taking a risk going into a dirty gym with no clear policies,” Dan says. “So, think about what support you need to maintain a fitness regimen whether you’re at home or willing and able to return to the fitness center.”
The important thing is, this is not a time to wait it out, doing nothing.
You’ve got to move your body every day. We’re here to help you stay strong!
Contact us today to see how we can empower you to get you moving and to be the best you can be!!