By Maria Kent, Liberty Lutheran PR Intern
Angela Danno has been an active resident at Paul’s Run since she moved in to Liberty’s Northeast Philadelphia retirement community 21 months ago. She exercises daily and knows first-hand the importance of physical fitness when it comes to aging. “I have little aches and pains…some pinched nerves,” she explained. That’s why she participated in Senior Fitness Day at Paul’s Run for the second year in a row.
The Senior Fitness Test is a way for the Paul’s Run trained professionals to obtain valuable information about the resident’s physical abilities, so they can lead a healthy lifestyle. The test was developed by experts at the California State University’s Center for Successful Aging to build personalized programs for older adults that are geared toward the areas that need improvement, as well as motivate and help set goals. All tests are standardized to allow staff to compare scores to nationally-rated scores for gender and age group. This allows seniors to see if they are above or below standards. The Senior Fitness tests include the following stations:
- Height and Weight: This gives us a Body Mass Index (BMI) score that determines if you are at a healthy weight
- Blood Pressure and Heart Rate: This is an indicator of cardiovascular health
- 30-Second Chair Stand: Tests leg strength
- 30-Second Arm Curl: Tests arm strength
- 2-Minute Step: Tests endurance
- Chair Sit and Reach: Test leg flexibility
- Back Scratch: Tests shoulder range of motion
- 8-Foot Up & Go: Tests balance, mobility and fall risk
The auditorium at Paul’s Run was bustling with activity on Thursday, September 18, as staff worked with seniors to complete the exercise stations. Jennifer Conway, a Liberty Resident Wellness Coordinator, said Angela is among the 46 residents who participated in the fitness testing this year. Many of them were returning participants along with some newcomers.
Jennifer says the fitness testing at Paul’s Run shows a number of residents are struggling with balance issues. “I had the most residents say to me, ‘I just don’t feel confident, I can’t lift my hands off the chair.’” Balance is vital to maintain with age because improper balance makes a person more prone to falls, Jennifer says, and if they fall, their health even further declines.
When the test results are available soon, staff will meet with residents to discuss any ways they can improve their health and wellness. Jennifer says this prompts many seniors to step up their exercise efforts and change their diet.
When it comes to the testing, Angela said she knows her biggest challenge was balance. She is eager to see how her test results stack up against her efforts last years. The good news, Angela says, she is “still in pretty good health, amen.”
For more information about living at Paul’s Run, call 215-934-3011.