Physical fitness is for seniors too |

Physical fitness is for seniors too

It’s a good thing Donna Page was a gym rat into her 60s.

"She was a client of mine for four years and she rapidly became my strongest client," said Pam Nelson, a personal trainer at the Snyderville Basin Recreation Field House.

Streptococcus suddenly hit Page and the infection caused her to lose both legs and some fingers. But, because of her outstanding fitness, she was able to recover.

"She got herself so strong, she made it. She’s 70 now and she still runs on prosthetics," Nelson said.

Without her prior fitness, Nelson doesn’t believe she would have recovered.

This is only one reason why Nelson and personal trainer Joe Jaret decided to create a fitness class for seniors. The first of the six-week series starts Tuesday, Jan. 16.

Jaret, 64, may be the oldest personal trainer in Park City, he said and he understands the need seniors have to exercise.

"A lot of body parts start slowing down," Jaret said. "Becoming more active will extend that time period. It will reduce weight, build balance, flexibility and simple muscle strength."

As the body ages, muscles and bones atrophy and fat cells seem to multiply. Osteoporosis inflicts many people but specifically women. Diet and exercise are the only ways to stop it.

"Exercise helps build more bone and muscle mass," Jaret said. "It helps so much more in recovery and it’s easier for the body to heal."

It’s not just the physical aspect that benefits from staying fit either.

"People feel better physically and emotionally," Nelson said. "It’s a great aid in fighting depression, it releases endorphins and hormones and you start feeling better. Most women in menopause recommend it for fighting symptoms."

Jaret agrees.

"You achieve milestones, you gain confidence to do more things," Jaret said.

Jaret has been through the recovery process as well and learned firsthand the benefits of consistent exercise. He says he was a gym rat until he entered the business world.

"The time when I didn’t exercise I felt bad and was more susceptible to colds," Jaret said.

Jaret injured his shoulder in a ski accident a few years ago and the doctors told him that there was permanent damage.

"I got back in the gym and it got me back to where the doctors didn’t think I would," Jaret said.

The program is designed to provide a fitness program of aerobic, stretching and strength exercises addressing all the major muscle groups, especially the core or abs and back work. Each participant will be at different levels and the trainers will customize a program on their workouts to fit individual needs.

"Core exercises are the trunk of the whole body," Jaret said. "They are required to work the other body parts."

To work the core, participants will work with joint-friendly, small dumbbells, resistance tubing and bands and on a stability ball.

As people age, the body forgets how to work out and the program helps the brain remember.

"It is intended to assist older participants to learn or re-learn the path to physical fitness and help you make healthy lifestyle changes," it reads on the class description flyer.

All participants must fill out a health history form that is available at the front desk before participating. Anyone with past or current health problems should check with a doctor. Some participants will be required to have a doctor’s referral.

The Full Function Fitness class for seniors, ages 50 and over, will begin Jan. 16 at the Basin Recreation Field House. The six-week class will run Tuesdays and Thursdays. The cost is $180 per person for 12 sessions. For more information, call 649-1564 or log on to

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