Senior Health and Fitness Day is May 29. It’s the perfect time to learn more about the importance of exercising as you age. Below is a Q&A with one of our very own OptumCare community center instructors in Arizona.
Name: Randy Bichler
What classes do you teach at the community center?
I teach Brainsavers, Circuit Training, Pilates, Zumba, Stand Sit and Be Fit, The 3 M’s, Nutrition and Active Stretch.
How long have you been a fitness instructor?
I’ve been teaching fitness classes for 30 years.
Why did you decide to become a fitness instructor?
After losing 105 pounds at age 23, I realized daily physical exercise was important. I was a professional actor for 13 years, but realized my passion had really changed to fitness. I wanted to help others do what I was able to. I started teaching fitness classes and eventually moved into health club management. Along the way I completed my Pilates certification.
What is your favorite part about teaching at the community center?
I love interacting with members and helping them learn how to take better care of themselves.
Why is it important to keep exercising as you age?
As you age, your body naturally loses lean body mass. This can keep you from taking part in activities you enjoy. You need strength training to keep your muscles strong. And you need some kind of movement to work your heart and keep it strong, too.
What are three good exercises for people over 55?
- Some kind of balance workout like tai chi. We offer it at the community centers. But any balance exercise in your home is good.
- Walking. Try to do a total of 150 minutes per week, or 20–25 minutes a day.
- Stretching and gentle movement. This will help keep the range of motion of your muscles.
Do you have any tips on how to move more during the day?
Park further away from the store so you have to walk more. Invite a friend for regular walks. Try doing something you’ve never done before like Pilates or Zumba. Find something you enjoy doing so you’re more likely to do it.