Seniors, it’s time to get fit |

Seniors, it’s time to get fit

Phil Carville
Fitness Columnist

This is the first in a series of articles specifically addressing the health and fitness of 'us seniors' in Nevada County.

Why single out seniors in Nevada County? Well, it's because there are a lot of us here. The 'median age' in Nevada County is 47.5 years — the highest in the state. In comparison, the media age in Placer County is 38 years, and the city of Sacramento is 33 years.

The implication for Nevada County is that we need the infrastructure and services to address the needs of an older population: obesity-related diseases, cancer, diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, fragility, broken bones from falls, depression and a general immobility caused by a lack of muscle strength. This places a financial burden upon the county – everything from subsidizing Telecare transit to extra equipment at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital.

Well, it doesn't have to be this way. Most of our senior population could be much healthier, stronger, more independent and active. Each day, we all see people in their 60s, overweight, moving very slowly with canes or walkers, while we see others in the 70s or 80s still independent, hiking, skiing, traveling … even entering senior athletic games, riding the Chico Wildflower 100 mike bike rides or tackling the "Tough Mudder" events. Why is this so?

Why single out seniors in Nevada County? Well, it’s because there are a lot of us here.

To a large extent, some people take care of themselves, eat right and exercise. Mostly these people wind up avoiding the diseases related to poor nutrition and lack of exercise. It really isn't hard to keep active. It's a simple mindset and a plan to live life to its fullest.

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We all want the second outcome — an active life with shared adventure and meaningful experiences. For most of us, again, this outcome is possible. I have seen people shed 20 pounds, 50 pounds, even much more, recover from heart attack, stroke, diabetes and other afflictions simply by eating right, exercising and sticking with their mindset.

It really isn't that hard if you have the correct plan. I know, you are probably saying "What does he mean, it isn't hard? I've tried over and over again, felt lousy and always gained the weight back."

I'm not saying it doesn't take commitment to change habits and stick with a plan. But it is doable with the right plan. No need to go on a starvation diet. In fact, if you do, you will harm yourself and not enjoy permanent weight loss and muscle gain.

So enough talk, this is the introductory article in a series addressed particularly for folks over 65 who account for 21.5 percent of the population of Nevada County.

In the next article, I will address the conundrum "which is better – diet or exercise." Over time, we will get into weight loss and control, gaining strength, healthier eating, food industry deception, avoiding lifestyle diseases, defeating depression, recovery and rehab, and a variety of topics that can supercharge our "21.5 percent" folks.

In fact, let's get our entire county supercharged. Everyone has something to gain by being healthier and happier. Most of all, let's make longer life and happier living a reachable goal for all.

Phil Carville is a longtime Nevada County resident and co-owner of the South Yuba Club, Strength & Wellness. He encourages comments and questions and can be reached at

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