Welcome back to this special series featuring the stories of the Senior Planet Sponsored Athletes as they pursue their fitness goals in 2021. You can find all of our Sponsored Athletes’ stories here.
Hollis Wagenstein-Hurturk, age 70, is a senior athlete and an advocate for adaptive functional fitness training. She’s using it to square off against the challenges of aging and disability. By sharing accessible fitness routines and resources, Hollis hopes that everyone, no matter their ability level, can discover new ways to increase their healthspan and lifespan. Get to know Hollis here, and read on for the latest update from her wellness journey:
“Self-reflection cures burnout, not self-care.” -Rebecca Minkoff, Fashion Designer
The Good Old (Bad Old?) Days
Many years ago, circa 1980, I was an aficionado of step aerobics. I frequented Body Design by Gilda, the studio chain founded by Gilda Marx (Jane Fonda’s teacher). We whooped and wheezed through grueling drills that promised to make us svelte and shapely. Instead, we often looked more like thermometers, with overdeveloped haunches, mingy upper bodies and undefined cores. Step aerobics alone was not enough to make us slim, strong, and lean.
No single sport or methodology “does it all.”
What we didn’t know then but know now is:
-We need a variety of exercises that strengthen and challenge us in different ways. No single sport or methodology “does it all.” Spot training usually fails for the same reason.
-The exercise plan we should embrace is determined by our body type and genetic potential, not by fads and trends. Functional fitness IMHO (in my humble opinion), offers the diversity and the flexibility that meet this standard.
not every physical activity counts as exercise
Generally, all physical activity is good…but not every physical activity counts as exercise. According to the National Library of Medicine, “Physical activity in daily life can be categorized into occupational, sports, conditioning, household, or other activities.
“Exercise is a subset of physical activity that is planned, structured, and repetitive and has as a final or an intermediate objective the improvement or maintenance of physical fitness.”
It’s essential to incorporate structured exercise to build and maintain your physical skill set…and that means functional fitness training!
Filling the Gap
…working out in a group adds energy and team spirit that can motivate you to push limits you may let slide when no-one is there to notice.
Working out alone shows discipline, but working out in a group adds energy and team spirit. It can motivate you to push limits you may let slide when no-one is there to notice.
Some live and online group classes are small enough to permit the instructor to observe and provide feedback, but not as much as a one-on-one session. You can enrich your daily exercise schedule with sporadic personal training. For many people, though, group classes will comprise the “bread and butter” of their exercise “diet”.
Where to Find Good Group Classes?
Glad you asked! Start with Senior Planet, which offers an array of awesome live classes five days a week at seniorplanet.org/fitness, all for free! AARP also hosts a variety of fitness sessions on its Virtual Community Center, or VCC.
If your insurance covers Silver Sneakers, you can log on to any of its live classes (and also access their large library of recorded sessions.) Your local Y, community colleges, houses of worship, neighborhood centers, and public libraries may offer group classes, both online and in-person.
Start with Senior Planet! — seniorplanet.org/fitness
There are many themes that work well for seniors: yoga, ballet, swimming, water aerobics, dance classes like Jazzercise, and martial arts such as Qigong. Senior Planet hosts weekly sessions for chair yoga, barre, Tai Chi, and stretch. In some communities seniors gather informally in local parks to practice Tai Chi. A simple web search will yield more possibilities than you can imagine!
Enhance just about any class or exercises you pursue by the use of a weighted vest to ward off age-related bone and muscle loss.
Guard against exercise-related pain and injury by wearing compression garments.
Stay hydrated, and use sunscreen and sun protection (including sunglasses) for outdoor sports activity.
What’s really self-care?
I started this post with a quote from Rebecca Minkoff about burnout and self-care. A theme now is “pandemic fatigue,” a form of burnout from the restrictions and monotony of the past two years.
Self-care does not just mean bubble baths with glowing candles next to a glass of Chardonnay.
I have come to resent the constant “self-care” messages throughout the pandemic, Self-care does not just mean bubble baths with glowing candles next to a glass of Chardonnay. Stuffing your face with comfort food is not self-care. Hiking up your credit card balance with tchotchkes and expensive indulgences because “we deserve it” is not self-care. Exercise is self-care!
If you associate exercise with pain and suffering, you are almost certainly doing the wrong exercise.
Discipline and restraint are part of self-care. If you associate exercise with pain and suffering, you are doing the wrong exercise. Discipline should not be agony. It should be a source of calm and serenity, satisfaction, and a sense of accomplishment.
Exercise is the best, most essential, most rewarding kind of self-care. That doesn’t mean you can’t reward yourself with a double scoop or a double decker from time to time! (And take me with you…. please!)
If you want to have some fun with functional fitness, please join me for my Senior Planet Sponsored Athlete presentation, “Putting the Fun in Fuctional Fitness!” on Wednesday, November 17 with special guest trainers Dr. Edward Jackowski and trainer Robin Friedman Stuelpner. Find the details here, and I’ll see you all soon!
Apply to become a 2022 Senior Planet Sponsored Athlete by November 30, 2021! In need of a little motivation to get moving? Join our daily health and wellness programs, stay tuned to the latest news and articles from SeniorPlanet.org by signing up for The Orbit weekly newsletter, and follow us on social media (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram) to get to know these awe-inspiring athletes. You might just find a new love for fitness along the way!