Pilot Fitness Program Will Focus on Eatonville Seniors

Senior push-upsA pilot fitness program designed to spark physical activity among older adults in Eatonville is set to begin in January.

Made possible with support from a $6,720 grant from the Winter Park Health Foundation (WPHF), the free Healthy Eatonville Senior Fitness Program will be offered at Healthy Eatonville Place (HEP), a center for health, wellness and diabetes education and screenings which opened earlier this year.

The fitness program will help older adults in the Eatonville community improve their overall fitness and potentially reduce health complications by participating in age-appropriate fitness activities. Numerous studies have shown the benefits of regular exercise include increased mobility as well as improvements in blood pressure, lipids, diabetes, and other chronic conditions.

Additionally, increased activity has been linked with reduction in depression and improvement in neurocognitive function and mood.  While older adults may feel it is more comfortable to be sedentary, or face socioeconomic and physiological barriers to physical activity, exercise is fundamental to the prevention and postponement of chronic diseases and disabilities, according to Julie A. Clyatt, ARNP, and Program Manager at HEP.

The Healthy Eatonville Senior Fitness Program will include a study to determine the best ways to increase physical activity among Eatonville seniors. A survey will help  determine Eatonville seniors’ perceived needs and potential barriers to participation.

It is anticipated the pilot fitness program will provide planned, structured, and repetitive exercise for 30 older adults (defined as persons 65 years and older) in the Eatonville community.  The program will include one-hour exercise classes offered three days per week over a 16-week period. The classes will be led by certified exercise physiologists/ trainers and utilize practical equipment to facilitate and measure increased physical activity among participants.

The grant was awarded to Florida Hospital’s Translational Research Institute for Metabolism and Diabetes which provides oversight for HEP. A significant portion of the funds will be used to purchase equipment and supplies so this initial investment will be available to serve older adults in future classes.

“We see this as a great way to support older adults who are interested in improving their health by implementing lifestyle changes.  We know the incidence of chronic disease among older adults is high throughout the nation.  Since our studies show it is even greater in Eatonville, this program furthers WPHF’s mission to create the healthiest community in the U.S.,” said Diana Silvey, WPHF Program Director, Older Adults.

Click here for more information on HEP, a million dollar collaborative effort of Healthy Central Florida, Florida Hospital, Sanofi, and WPHF.