The Blog

Seniors Keep Fit and Happy at the JFS Fitness Center

With the majority of the baby boomers hitting age 65 by the year 2011, and the estimated costs of health care doubling for this demographic, the promotion of health is of utmost importance.
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

Fitness is important for everyone, but it is absolutely vital for seniors. With the majority of the baby boomers hitting age 65 by the year 2011, and the estimated costs of health care doubling for this demographic, the promotion of health among the elderly is of utmost importance.

There are obvious benefits of improving cardiovascular health, lowering blood pressure, reducing heart disease and diabetes, or delaying the onset of osteoporosis. However, an increase in exercise and activities also supports older adults' overall well being and comfort, which has been shown to improve psychological health. Fitness is also considered a social activity that contributes to a healthy state of mind and a sense of youth. That's why at Jewish Family Services (JFS) Valley Storefront Community Resource Center in North Hollywood, the Adult Fitness Center has rapidly become such a huge part of the members' lives. At JFS, there is an array of services for older adults to help them remain healthy, active and independent in their own communities. In addition, they will develop a renewed self-confidence and often times new fitness and health routine.

One of the long-time adult fitness members, Annette Renwick, attends regular work out sessions and yoga classes. "Two years ago," said Renwick, "I had a pinched nerve in my leg and when I walked I favored that leg. I heard that the Valley Storefront had a fitness center with equipment so I joined hoping it would be of some help. I started using the equipment, but when Brian (Brian Glaspy, the JFS Senior Fitness Center Coordinator) was hired, I started taking his classes. I am very happy to say I no longer favor that leg and now walk normally. Two people when they joined our class were using canes for balance. After a few weeks in Brian's class they are no longer using their canes." This is just one of the stories from those who use the JFS senior fitness center. They feel lucky that they have someone to help them live a better and more pain-free way of life.

I have grown up knowing the importance of fitness and nutrition. My parents ran a weight reducing camp for teenagers for over 15 years. However, the excitement and fervor that these seniors display when getting ready to work out with the JFS trainer and coach or take one of the center's daily yoga classes far outweigh the motivation of the teen campers. The seniors display a strong desire to be active, useful and healthy, and to do something that will ultimately help diminish the burdens of needless sickness, premature death and unmanageable health care costs. Instead of deeming them the "invisible population," it would help everyone -- young and old -- to improve their physical and emotional lives.

In an effort to expand the services to more of Los Angeles' older adult population, JFS is conducting their "Live Well, Laugh Often" fundraiser, which includes their inaugural "Friend of the Valley Storefront" award going to Jack McGee for his work in the community. The funds raised will go to expanding the Valley Storefront's Senior Fitness Center. It will be a star-studded celebrity event including Ed Begley Jr, Lea Thompson and Alonzo Bodden. It's a fantastic way to show support not only for Jewish Family Services Valley Storefront Senior Fitness Center but also for the community. For more information about the fitness center, visit www.jfsla.org/fitness. To attend the event, visit www.jfsla.org/livewell.

What: Live Well, Laugh Often Fundraiser
Where: El Portal Theater, North Hollywood
When: Monday, October 18th from 6-9 p.m.