Did you make and break a New Year’s resolution to exercise? Do you think you are too old to exercise? Are there other reasons that keep you from exercising? Meadowood residents show that it is never too late to start and maintain an exercise program. You can reap the benefits of exercise at any age. Meadowood Fitness Director Jim Mangol, who has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Kinesiology from Temple University and over twelve years in the field, explains, “Through regular and appropriate strength training at any age, you can increase bone density and delay the onset of the wasting away of lean muscle mass as one gets older.”
Meadowood resident David Haines is a perfect example of how strength training can be a way to increased physical activity for older people. Haines never exercised before moving into Meadowood in 2004. He ran a successful business outside of Quakertown that his son now runs. Being an entrepreneur and family man left little time for exercise throughout his adult years. Two health issues, a stroke and a slip on the ice, breaking his left ankle, affected his balance so that he became reliant on a cane to walk. Haines who was in his late seventies at the time, explained that even after extensive rehabilitation after the foot healed, he was still not walking well. He was bent over and using a cane. Haines decided to take charge of his physical abilities and signed up for personal training at Meadowood to improve his ability to walk. After a few months of three sessions per week of strength training and stretching, he was able to stand up straighter, walk better, and improve his balance. “My muscles were stronger, and I felt more stable, like I wasn’t going to fall,” said Haines.
He credits Meadowood’s Certified Personal Trainer, John Sovocool, for his success and his ability to keep up his routine for almost three years. Haines’s dedication to his physical training has made his voice a vital part of the Meadowood fitness committee and his improved fitness has been helpful in taking long walks with his yellow Lab, Lizzie, around Meadowood’s numerous walking trails.
Joyce Given, a Meadowood resident since 2005 who moved here from Florida to be closer to her grandchildren, experienced similar benefits from exercising as Haines, but also lost fifty pounds. She exercised here and there before moving into Meadowood but not consistently, since she was busy raising children and working at a career as a legal secretary. Given suffered knee problems and had trouble walking. Her physician discussed the possibility of a knee replacement, but Joyce did not want that. She decided to take matters into her own hands and signed up for personal training three times a week. Combining strength training on the latest equipment with cardio exercises three times a week, Given was able to lose fifty pounds over two years, which she has kept off. She no longer has knee problems, and knee replacement surgery never happened. Given has never felt so good. “My body feels younger than it did thirty years ago. I have more strength and better balance. I feel good about myself,” said Given. This increased energy allows her to keep up with her ten grandchildren and volunteer on the Meadowood social committee.
She also raves about her personal trainer, John Sovocool, who is a Certified Personal Trainer through the American College of Sports Medicine and has a Master of Science Degree in Exercise Physiology from West Chester University. “He really knows the right exercises for older adults and is attentive to details,” Given explained.
“Personal training goes hand in hand with the overall person wellness that we focus on for the entire Meadowood community,” said Mangol. “The community strives to improve amenities by creating healthy and interesting activities that challenge the body, mind, and spirit. Haines and Givens illustrate that wellness attitude. They make the fullest use of our numerous walking trails, and the recent extensive renovation of the community center added exciting spaces that are surrounded by our country environment. These bright and lively spaces are an attraction that draws residents into more activities that help keep their quality of life. Even the weight room with its new equipment has lured new members to fully enjoy working muscles they never knew they had,” concluded Mangol.