The fit generation | Ann Oxrieder | Still Life

Are seniors the most physically fit demographic in this country? After observing and eavesdropping on exercisers at the Bellevue Family Y, it sure seems like it. Recently, I overheard the beginning of a conversation between a man and a woman on stationary bikes. She asked him how he was doing. “I’m great” he said.  Every day is a gift when you’re 89.”

After retiring I started exercising mornings, which was when I realized that the size of the before-noon crowd, which consists almost exclusively of seniors, was about the same as the after-work group.

The seniors inspire me every time I see them. (I know I shouldn’t say “them” since I’m officially a senior, but the members of the group I’m talking about are in their 70s, 80s and 90s.) They are working out on the weight machines, bikes and treadmills, taking aerobics, tai chi and yoga — and participating in more than one activity each morning.

Not everyone is trim and fit, but most are, and all seem dedicated to becoming or staying healthy. One man told my husband he walks an hour a day six days a week, after he lifts weights. An 85-year-old said he quit kickboxing following eye surgery, but had found alternate ways to get an even better workout.

What sets these seniors apart from other age groups, besides having free time during the day, is having well-established exercise habits. They are working out three or more days a week, year after year.

Regular exercise has become my habit, too.  One obvious benefit is that I’m slowly moving articles of clothing from the “give-it-away-if you-can’t fit-into-it-in-a-year” side of my closet to the “wear-it-now” side. Now it’s time to develop a new strategy to respond to the cookies and candy still loitering around the house after the holidays.


Ann Oxrieder has lived in Bellevue for 35 years. She retired after 25 years as an administrator in the Bellevue School District and now blogs about retirement at http://stillalife.wordpress.com/.

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