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Going strong

Greenspring celebrates one-year anniversary with Go4Life

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September 25th, 2012

Community members at Greenspring, the Erickson Living community in Springfield, Va., are up and moving, celebrating the upcoming one-year anniversary of their partnership with Go4Life, an exercise and physical activity campaign from the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Designed to help older adults fit exercise and physical activity into their daily life, Go4Life is based on research showing that exercise and physical activity can help people stay healthy and independent and prevent some of the chronic conditions associated with aging. If we want to become a healthy, fit nation, we need to increase the number of Americans who are healthy at every stage of life, says U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, M.D., M.B.A. Greenspring s partnership with Go4Life is just one of the many ways in which the community strives to provide its residents opportunities to get healthy and stay healthy. Promoting healthy aging has always been central to Erickson Living s mission, so this campaign fits right in with the company s ongoing efforts to find creative opportunities to help seniors lead a healthier, happier, more vibrant retirement, says Dr. Matt Narrett, chief medical officer for Erickson Living.

Support team

Greenspring is a vibrant community where residents enjoy staying active and fit, says Wellness Manager Brad Hibbs. This campaign fits perfectly with the existing campus wellness program, which enables people to enjoy a healthy and fulfilling lifestyle. Last fall, Greenspring held its first Go4Life event, introducing residents to many of the community s classes, including low-impact aerobics, Zumba, yoga, and chair fit (low-impact aerobics performed in a chair), as well as an interactive tai chi demonstration and martial arts performance. This was followed by a month of Go4Life events, including a yoga alignment clinic and a nature walk near Accotink Creek, which runs adjacent to the Greenspring campus, for national physical fitness and sports month, in May.

Stewards of fitness

Also during May, Greenspring celebrated the accomplishments of 16 residents who have shown dedication and commitment to living a healthier lifestyle. They joined 178 of their neighbors in the Greenspring fitness center s hall of fame. The inductees logged 500, 1,000, or 2,000 visits to the on-campus fitness center. I m so glad to be joining my husband in the club, says Bobbie Chabot, one of the 2,000 visits inductees. In 2009, her husband Frank was one of the very first residents to reach 2,000 visits to the fitness center. There is a lot of evidence available which shows that you will probably live longer if you are physically fit, and you will enjoy life that much more, says Bob Augustad, who was inducted into the hall of fame for logging 1,000 visits. We can do that here at Greenspring because of the availability of the fitness center and the pool as well as the remarkable fitness center staff, he adds.

Famous faces

Four Greenspring community members Roy O Connor, Jack Cason, Dick Ernst, and Charlie Edwards are training for the Northern Virginia Senior Olympics, the Virginia Senior Games, and the National Senior Games. You can find their personal fitness stories on Go4Life s success stories webpage. When I approached my retirement I was interested in things that would keep me going and active, says Dick. Some of my friends were competing at the Northern Virginia Senior Olympics. I decided to join them. At the most recent Virginia Senior Games, Dick took home two gold medals in the 50-meter dash and long jump and a bronze in the 100-meter dash.

Sharing knowledge

In addition to encouraging community members to get and stay physically fit, Go4Life has provided evidence-based exercise guides in both English and Spanish to Greenspring as well as the other 15 Erickson Living communities across the country. This past June, Dr. Chhanda Dutta, chief of the clinical gerontology branch at the National Institute on Aging at NIH, visited Greenspring and presented information on exercise and aging. She also answered questions from attendees. It used to be part of the stereotype that when people get older they get frail, and exercise gets dangerous, says Dutta. That s just not true. What we now know is that it is more dangerous not to exercise. There s a lot to gain out of just moving. And that s exactly what the Greenspring community intends to do. This October, Greenspring will host its annual health fair showcasing more than 40 health, fitness, and wellness vendors, followed by the popular Turkey Trot in November. Our goal is to keep our community healthy and strong, says Hibbs. We are here to help them in those efforts, every step of the way. To experience the benefits of Go4Life, including success stories and exercise videos, visit the program s website at go4life.nia.nih.gov. Want to see Greenspring in action at the various Go4Life events? YouTube has videos of many of the events. Visit youtube.com, and search for Greenspring Go4Life.

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