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Debunking the Myths of Aging: Strength & Balance

By Greg Pascucci

Debunking the Myths of  Aging: Strength & BalanceOften, people believe old age and frailty go hand-in-hand. Studies show quite the contrary! Both psychological and physical aspects of aging are affected by older adults’ activity level. In fact, there is documented evidence from the National University of Singapore that found frailty in seniors can actually be reversed.

“As we age, we become more sedentary and less active,” said Solaris Rehab’s Kelly Hettenbaugh, who is the lead therapist at The Carlisle. “If you aren’t active, you aren’t challenging your body enough and when this happens, your muscle tone declines.”

To counter and even improve muscle strength and balance – keys to preventing frailty—she recommends:

Eat Protein-Rich Foods
It is estimated that adults can lose eight percent of muscle mass each decade after the age of 40. Foods such as fish, poultry, tofu and beans can help maintain and rebuild muscle mass.

At The Carlisle Naples, an active retirement community, the newly launched Fresh Zest initiative has added delicious and nutritious plant-based entrees to the existing menu. The executive chef has encouraged residents to think beyond salads with the addition of food such as meatless mushroom stroganoff, shepherd’s pie and lasagna.

Improve Flexibility
Fitness classes such as Yoga and Tai Chi stretch muscles and can increase one’s range of motion. This helps with activities of daily living such as bathing and dressing and even safely getting up from a chair.

Hettenbaugh finds seniors living at a retirement community are often more likely to participate in exercise classes because they are conveniently located onsite and there is always a neighbor or friend to join them. Plus, classes and fitness equipment are designed with older adults in mind.

Build Strength
A study published in the Journal of Gerontology found that even in the oldest participant, muscle mass could be increased with a strength training program. Documented benefits of building strength include improved mobility and ease of performing day-to-day tasks.

“Residents at The Carlisle have the opportunity to engage in rehabilitative services for preemptive strength training,” said Hettenbaugh, who was recently named as a “Young Professional of the Year” finalist in The News-
Press People of the Year awards. “Senior living communities tend to take a proactive approach to keeping residents healthy – with many finding their strength has increased following a move to the community and participating in wellness programs.”

Be Proactive
It’s important to discuss health changes with your doctors immediately and not dismiss them as symptoms of “old age”. Unintended weight loss, weakness and fatigue, for example, are not synonymous with aging.

Senior living communities offer onsite physicians and specialists for the convenience of residents. They can quickly schedule appointments, follow-up with doctors and, often have access to an onsite nursing team.

The Carlisle’s residents have the advantage of having Solaris and My Care Clinic, a personalized-medical concierge program, located within the community. Hettenbaugh, for example, meets weekly with The Carlisle’s assisted living team, home health care nurses and My Care Clinic staff.

“We’re able to offer an integrative, multidisciplinary approach,” she explained. “It’s very effective to be able to stop and chat with residents to correct a behavior or recommend specific classes at The Carlisle to improve one’s gait or build strength. Whether recovering from surgery or an injury, we also develop programs to return residents to a healthy and active lifestyle.”

Experts recommend working all muscle groups: core, back, legs, shoulder, biceps, chest and triceps. By taking charge of your health today, you can turn back the hands of time and begin to reap the many benefits of improving balance, muscle mass and strength.

Located at 6945 Carlisle Court in Naples, The Carlisle offers spacious one-and two-bedroom residences, weekly housekeeping and flat linen services, basic cable TV, all utilities except telephone, and a complimentary full breakfast plus choice of lunch or dinner in the community’s gourmet-style restaurant. For more information about the community, please call 239-221-0017 or visit

The Carlisle, a luxury, resort-style senior living community in North Naples, offers both Independent and Assisted Living lifestyles. Available on a monthly fee basis, the ECC-licensed and CARF-accredited community boasts a full range of services and amenities including 12-hour restaurant dining, housekeeping, transportation and activities. Located on Airport-Pulling Road, between Pine Ridge and Immokalee Roads, the award-winning community’s lush tropical environment is highlighted with meandering walking paths around three lakes and tranquility gardens. For more information or to schedule a tour, please call Director of Marketing Greg Pascucci at 239-221-0017.

Luxury Rental Retirement Living
6945 Carlisle Court, Naples, FL 34109
239-221-0017 .

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