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Fit After 50 Keeps Seniors Mobile

Coordinator, Betty Robinson

Seniors nationwide claim their independence as a “most valued possession.” For many, remaining independent means staying physically fit in order to take care of themselves, maintain their mobility and live a healthy active life.

With this in mind, Riverside County developed Fit After 50, a free fitness program for seniors, aimed at avoiding falls and prolonging independence. The program incorporates simple exercises that can increase strength, balance and flexibility. Thirty three classes are offered weekly in various locations including the Stergios Building at Desert Regional Medical Center, the Mizell Senior Center in Palm Springs, the Joslyn Center in Palm Desert, and the Coachella Senior Center in Coachella.

The program is sponsored by the Riverside County Office on Aging and is managed by 84 year-old Palm Desert resident Betty Robinson, who also teaches classes and trains instructors. “It is never too late to rebuild muscle tissue. Exercise should be a priority in our lives. It is preventative medicine, and only two hours a week can help you regain strength and mobility,” says Robinson. Fit After Fifty currently has 500-550 participants from ages 55-97 years.

Started in 2003, Fit After 50 was adopted from a statewide evidence based model program developed to ease the state’s financial burden from falls and injuries. Riverside County’s exercise guidelines were created by Sherri Lucas, MS and Jessie Jones, Ph.D of California State University, Fullerton. Classes are one hour long beginning with a warm up of abdominal breathing, stretching, and core & balance exercises; then followed by resistance core strength training exercises.

Nationwide, falls are the leading cause of injury deaths among older people according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “In 2007, the American Heart Association (AHA) added strength and balance training 2-3 days a week to their recommended weekly exercise regimen. Fit After 50 meets AHA guidelines and offers members a positive social environment to exercise with their peers,” states Robinson.

Participants benefit from more than just increased physical fitness. “We bond through the program because we are all working towards the same goal–keeping our independence for as long as we can.”

In addition to new members, Fit After 50 is looking for new Valley locations and volunteer instructors who will be certified by the program. Instructors currently range in age from 30 to 85.

For more information and a list of classes/locations, call 760-341-0401 or visit www.rcaging.org and click on Fit After 50, under “Programs and Services.”

5 Responses to “Fit After 50 Keeps Seniors Mobile”

  1. Dr. Peterson says:

    Where can the evidence-based study be found?

  2. Ann Leath says:

    I am glad for the opportunity to take this class at the Beaumont community center. I am wondering if you plan to update any of the exercises on the DVD. Is this the original program from 2003? or how recently was it actually updated?I am familiar with most of the movements from taking Silver Sneakers, gentle yoga, gentle aerobics, gentle cardio at the Y but there is no Y here, I notice the instructor in the video doesn’t have us do each set the same amount of time on each leg, so I modify to make it symmetrical for me. Thanks.

  3. james sizer says:

    Is betty robinsons video available for purchase? My wife and I took the class at the local library in the woodcrest area of riverside. Now they have switched to a different tape and we thought bettys tape is more of what we need. Thanks

    • Lauren Del Sarto says:

      Great question! Please contact the Riverside County Office of Aging and ask them directly:

      For more information and a list of classes/locations, call 760-341-0401 or visit http://www.rcaging.org and click on Fit After 50, under “Programs and Services.”

      Thank you for reading Desert Health!
      Lauren

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