“Get out and do it,” advises Sarah Wishnia, a 90-year-old fitness enthusiast who lives at The Palace Coral Gables.
The self-proclaimed “gym rat” combines a six-day-a-week workout in The Palace fitness center with salsa dancing and walking.
“It’s great to be good to my body and to myself,” she said “I love it and it’s so much fun.”
She calls The Palace fitness center her “fun room.” It was the first place she looked when she and her husband, Julius, considered moving to the active retirement community. When she was working, she never had time to work out. Now, she can be found at the fitness center every morning after enjoying breakfast with her husband.
At 9:30, she walks and says, “let’s get to work” to Palace fitness trainer Andrew Gill. Her favorite cardio equipment is the elliptical machine which she’ll use for about 30 minutes.
Wishnia takes advantage of the personal trainer offered by The Palace at no charge. Gill, who is at the community every weekday, helps her with stretching and using a variety of balance equipment.
“My doctor was going to give me medication for my nightly leg cramps, but I didn’t want more pills,” she said. “Andrew helped me with hamstring and quad stretches. Now, I’m sleeping eight hours a night.”
In addition to the fitness center, Wishnia takes advantage of South Florida’s lovely weather, walking as much as she can each day. She uses an Apple watch to keep track of her steps and tries to “close the rings” on the watch face.
She admits some days are better than others but considers working out as a job.
“Whether it’s walking to the Farmer’s Market or Publix, it’s just important to get out,” she advises. “Don’t worry if you don’t have someone to walk with; just get out.”
Palace resident Dr. Harold Silberman has a similar fitness philosophy. The retired physician, who will be 97 in May, believes aging well means avoiding a sedentary life.
Silberman has been an avid swimmer since his youth and was captain of his high school swimming team. Now, he makes use of The Palace’s heated swimming pool and combines swimming laps with walking in the pool and taking the aquacise classes.
He, like Wishnia, is committed to a regular workout schedule. He takes advantage of fitness classes geared to stretching and weight-lifting every morning, followed by two hours playing chess, then table tennis. He loves the latter so much that he isn’t deterred if he’s unable to find a partner. He simply plays against The Palace’s ping-pong robot machine.
“It’s important to stimulate your mind and do physical activities at least a half-hour each day,” said Dr. Silberman. “Practicing getting in and out of a chair each day, for example, is an investment in your future. If you keep your muscles in good shape, you’ll be better able to handle old age.”
He also acknowledges that loneliness and social isolation are the equivalent of a disease. In England, this has been recognized and they now have a Minister of Loneliness in their cabinet. Dr. Silberman says living in The Palace and not living alone counters isolation. By attending classes, relationships with others are strengthened.
He dances at The Palace three nights a week despite using a walker.
“I believe I’ve started a trend. I’ll dance over to someone with my walker and get them up and dancing. Everyone has a good time,” he chuckled. “I’m able to exercise and socialize at the same time. It’s truly the best of both worlds.”
About The Palace Coral Gables
The Palace Coral Gables is an award-winning independent and assisted living community for active retirement living with luxurious amenities and services. To learn more, please call 305-445-7444 or to view a list of The Palace Group’s senior living communities, visit www.ThePalace.org.