Exercising has long been found to help people remain healthy and fit as they reach senior status. For a group of elders at the Abe Stark Senior Center in Canarise, Brooklyn, the way to staying strong is by resorting back to routines of their childhoods, New York 1 reports.
There, seniors who are mainly in their 80s and 90s take part in Presidential Challenges – doing sit-ups, pull-ups crunches and cardio workouts, in order to "win awards."
"We saw a lot of our senior population is kind of stagnant," Marianna Hernandez, the center's assistant director, told the publication. "They don't really move, they are immobile, they are stuck in homes. They come here but they don't really move much. Since my kids had won the [Presidential] award [in school], it worked so well with the kids, why not try it with the seniors? And it worked phenomenally."
When Hernandez approached the center's director, Nathan Williams, he was instantly on board.
"When she brought it to me, we looked at it and said it is such a great thing," Williams told the news outlet. "And seniors gravitated toward it and it seemed like an antidote for them, as an extension of life. And they got involved, and oh my god, it just took off."
Now, seniors in the group are getting stronger every day and feeling the effects of their success. The program requires elders to take part in at least 60 minutes of daily activity.
"It makes me feel exuberant, exuberant. Feisty, exciting, I just love it," 81-year-old Geneva Barr told the news station. "There are no other words for it."
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three seniors age 65 and older are predicted to fall annually. Those who provide elder care to a senior loved one might want to start exercising with them in order to ward off falls and other health problems.