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Fitness helps take the old out of old age

Hello Albany, I hope you have all had a great week! Just to let you know, I talked to "Spring Time" and he said that he would be available between the hours of 6a.m.-11 a.m. and then will be out of the office for the rest of the day and that you could talk to full-blown Summer, his replacement, if you need anything.

All right ... "don't quit my day job the be a comedia." Got it ...

A couple of weeks ago, I was down in Jacksonville visiting family for Easter. Sunday morning, my wife and I went to church with her mother and brother at a good sized church there in the area.

We could hardly find a seat, and when we did, I felt I was in one of those Dial soap commercials. Toward the end of the service, an elderly man stood up and turned to give a hand to his wife for her to rise out of her seat. This beautiful lady appeared to be in her 90s and found difficulty in getting around.

With an outstretched arm and a firm grip, the man helped the woman out of her seat and they began to gingerly make their way out. There was a bit of a bittersweet moment there I thought.

On one hand, the love that was displayed between that man and woman was so great, but on the other, how sad it was to see her losing her independence before my eyes.

What if you were (or are) 65 years old? What things would you like to still be able to do?

What about 75? 85? 95? How about if you lived to 110 years old? How would you want your life to be?

Is your idea of life at 90 living in an assisted living or nursing home watching Oprah while someone has to spoon-feed you Jell-O?

The better question is, What can we do to prolong independence and hold off the aging process?

It should be no surprise by now that I am a huge advocate of fitness. It is what I do. I am a firm believer in the "use it or lose it" theory -- meaning, if you do not use something on a day-to-day basis, then you stand chance of losing the ability to perform that act at all.

My idea is that fitness is a relative term and that can be measured by how your body can react to different stimulants that life throws your way.

Have you ever witnessed a person, who may be fairly fit, being forced to use a cane or crutches for a short time? If use of this device is prolonged, you can best believe that soon other skills will be lost. Skills such as coordination, balance and agility will be tossed and lost along the wayside and will be replaced with a dependance of this new "tool."

Now with that being said, sometimes these "tools" are a necessity and often very useful; however, it is my belief that they should have been temporary but, in a lot of cases, ended up permanent.

Exercises such as push ups, pull ups, sit ups and squats are more relative to life and should be implemented in everyone's workouts, no matter what age you are. Although Preacher Curls and Tricep Pressdowns may be great for giving you arms that look good sticking out of a sleeveless shirt, they hold no weight in the real world.

I am sure you all remember the commercial that made the saying "HELP, I've fallen and I can't get up!" famous. How helpless of a feeling that would be.

Although I am sure that medical alert necklace is a great accessory to go along with her white velcro shoes, she may not have needed it had she been doing her push ups and squats regularly.

Please feel free to e-mail me wish any questions regarding exercises for the elderly or on fitness in general. I hope you have a great week and, as always, thanks for reading The Herald!

E-mail fitness columnist Kris Morrill, certified personal trainer and owner of World Camp Fitness in Albany, at kris@worldcampfitnesstraining.com.