No Six-Packs Here, Please
Seniors looking to hit the gym now have options that go beyond battling it out with the hard bodies
The breadth of the programs can also vary. Some include yoga and other classes like tai chi; others stick strictly to a circuit-training agenda. In addition to exercise, Nifty after Fifty, for instance, offers a "brain gym" and a driving simulation course. The brain gym includes computer games, such as the Happy Neuron, that enhance memory. The driving simulation course is designed to help improve reflexes. One machine, for instance, flexes the muscle that helps move the foot off the gas pedal to the brake, improving the response time.
Several large fitness-club chains, including Gold's Gym, Bally's, and the YMCA, also offer programs geared toward seniors such as "SilverSneakers," which offers workouts as well as yoga and other classes. SilverSneakers is also covered by some Medicare-based health plans that offer free membership to the club through the program.
For Dull, just training herself to think about what she ate made a huge difference in her weight. "If I want the cookie, I eat it," she says. "But the difference now is that I think about it first." Even better, in the year since she became a member, she's lost more than 60 pounds, developed more healthful eating habits, and become a regular exerciser. As for the cruise, Dull didn't just make it up the gangplank without losing her breath, She came back several pounds lighter than when she left.