Aging gracefully through exercise |

Aging gracefully through exercise

The Union photo/John Hart
John R. Hart | The Union

“Get Moving … Start Improving” is the theme this year for the National Senior Health and Fitness Day Wednesday. My question to you is, “Are you?” If you want to learn the secret to aging gracefully, it’s simple — exercise! I have had clients over the years say that they are too old to get any benefit. They could talk to several of my clients who are pushing 90 who work with me on a weekly basis. Don’t let age become your limitation; improvements are attainable at any age. There is no better time than right now to start with longer and warmer days ahead.

As I have mentioned many times before, the benefits of exercise are more than just physical. Movement also promotes cognitive and psychological well-being. You can actually feel your mood lift after a good workout!

Want to make the change, but not sure how to begin? Follow these steps:

• Make time in your schedule. Pretend it is a medical appointment that you can’t cancel.

• The American College of Sports Medicine recommends at least 30 minutes most days of the week. If this seems overwhelming, consider three bouts of 10-minute increments.

• Pick an activity that you enjoy or will enjoy. It will make it easier to keep the appointment with yourself. Just remember that whatever you choose, it should include strength, cardiovascular or flexibility movements.

• Check with your doctor to see if he has any recommendations. If he is unable to give you specifics regarding your exercise, seek out a fitness professional.

• Accountability helps! Many of us need a commitment to others to get us there! This may be friends in a class who are counting on you being there or your personal trainer who will call you if you don’t show up for your scheduled appointment!

If you are already active, how can you get stronger and more fit? Instead of always doing things at the same pace or level, regularly increase the effort or intensity. The effort that you put forth should be considered “moderate.” This self-measures as a five or six on a scale of zero to 10 with zero being the equivalent of sitting and 10 being an all-out effort. The intensity of your exercise will vary depending upon your current fitness level.

National Senior Health and Fitness Day is just a reminder for us to get moving and start improving. Just think, only 30 minutes of movement most days of the week is actually the key to aging with grace. That’s an easy target for most of us to achieve if you consider the benefits that it will yield.

Remember this acronym to becoming FITT:

• Frequency: most days of the week

• Intensity: moderate — a “five or six” on a scale of 10

• Time: at least 30 minutes

• Type: do something that includes movement and is enjoyable!

Scott Jackson, CSCS, MES, B.S. Physical Education, owner of Scott Jackson’s Real Life Fitness Personal Training Services in Nevada City, is an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Medical Exercise Specialist and an IDEA Master Trainer. Email questions to, call 530-265-4041 or visit or our Facebook page for information.

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