Staying active while aging

  • Peggy Cappy, 70, of Dublin has taught a Tuesday morning Gentle Stretch Yoga Class in Peterborough for more than three decades. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce

  • Peggy Cappy's Tuesday morning Gentle Stretch Yoga Class in Peterborough. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce

  • Peggy Cappy's Tuesday morning Gentle Stretch Yoga Class in Peterborough. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce

  • Peggy Cappy's Tuesday morning Gentle Stretch Yoga Class in Peterborough. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce

  • Peggy Cappy's Tuesday morning Gentle Strech Yoga Class in Peterborough has been a favorite of Monadnock Region seniors for nearly two decades. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • Peggy Cappy's Tuesday morning Gentle Strech Yoga Class in Peterborough has been a favorite of Monadnock Region seniors for nearly two decades. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • 70-year-old Carol Burdick of Peterborough holds the Warrior Pose during Peggy Cappy’s Tuesday morning Gentle Stretch Yoga Class in Peterborough. Staff photo by Meghan Pierce

  • Staff photo by Meghan Pierce—

  • Lindsay Vago, Assistant Professor of Health Sciences at Franklin Pierce University in Rindge. Courtesy Photo—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 4/22/2019 9:23:24 PM

They say variety is the spice of life. Physical therapist Lindsay Vago says it’s also the key to staying fit as we grow older.

“I find that as we get older we seem to do the same routine activity,” said Vago, who is also an assistant professor of Health Sciences at Franklin Pierce University in Rindge.

It can start as early as our 40s, she said, forms of exercise or types of physical activity are dropped. Maybe it’s because we can’t seem to be able to do as much as we could when we were younger or we are experiencing stiffness or pain. We limit what we do, which only makes us less active, Vago said.

“We think about our general strength, we think about our health, but we don’t always think about our endurance, balance and flexibility,” she said.

Yoga teacher Peggy Cappy of Dublin says when people get older they need to find some way to stay active.

“Whatever you are doing, keep doing it,” Cappy said. “You need to be more active when you’re older than when you’re younger. And that’s not understood by people. Because the less you move, the less you want to move and it becomes a vicious cycle.”

Mix it up, but take it easy, Vago says, whether it’s a family kickball game, gardening club or a fitness class. The key is to keep moving.

“There needs to be a variety of things that we do and we can’t have expectations of doing things that we used to do 20 years ago,” Vago said. “We don’t always have to think about fitness classes. You can go kayaking or hiking. Those are both great ways to stay active as we age.”

Strength training

Strength training can help build bone density, which contributes to the prevention Osteoporosis, Vago said.

“Even as you get older you still need to challenge yourself,” Vago said.

Doing 100 reps with a one-pound weight will build endurance, not strength, she said.

“You should pick a weight that when you do 8 to 12 repetitions of that weight you are tired when you’re done,” she said. “That kind of exercise done repeatedly can be used to build muscle strength at any age.”

Yoga

Yoga targets balance, endurance and flexibility, Cappy said.

“A minute practice on each leg just once a week makes a huge difference on a person’s ability to balance.”

Cappy, 70, has been practicing yoga for 50 years and teaching it for 40 years. Her Tuesday morning Gentle Stretch Yoga, which she has been running for more than 30 years in Peterborough, is the class she is most dedicated too, she said at the end of the class last week.

Class members are equally devoted.

“It is a part of my everyday life. I can do things that other 70-year-olds can’t, said class member Carol Burdick, 70, of Peterborough. “You have to keep moving, you have to move your entire life or you are going to get stiff and then when you get stiff you just sit and you just seize up. I believe in movement.”

Teri Hallgrimson, 92, of Peterborough has been attending Cappy’s class for about 15 years.

“Not only does it keep your body flexible, but it keeps your mind and your emotions and perceptions far more flexible,” she said. “You’re more alive.”

Ask for help

Vago said as we get older sometimes everyday tasks can seem daunting. “Maybe you are afraid to lose your balance so you stop being social.”

If your balance is poor and you find that a fear of falling keeps you from certain activities, Vago advises people to seek out a physical therapist. “Go to your primary care physician and let them know you are afraid to fall,” she said.




Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

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