Exercise has many benefits later in life, of course – like increased flexibility, strength and endurance.
It also has a way of bringing loved ones closer together, even in these times of physical distancing.
Consider Michael Levitan, 78, of Philadelphia, who has found a workout buddy in his son, Eric, 49, who lives in Atlanta.
During the pandemic’s early days, Michael was stuck at home without regular physical activity. Meanwhile, Eric was starting an online fitness business for mature people. The pair began working out together via video twice a week.
Now, Michael feels great, his bloodwork is improved, and his doctor is happy. Also, he and his son are spending more time together and getting to know each other on a whole new level.
“It’s a lot of fun and we enjoy it with one another,” says Michael. “It’s a whole different level than talking on the phone. He sees my level of fitness, and I see his level of caring in different ways. It certainly has brought us closer together.
“The fact that it happens to be good for you physically is just icing on the cake.”
We’re connecting in new ways
Since the coronavirus forced people to stay home, we’ve all been finding new ways to exercise, and new ways to stay in touch with family and friends. Many people are finding this is – oddly enough – an ideal time to combine both.
Personal trainers, fitness studios, and gyms everywhere have increased their online training options with live sessions and video libraries. “Zoom” has become part of our vernacular. And “older” people have found a way to keep exercising with a professional while at home.
Eric started his fitness business, Vivo, shortly before the pandemic, but it seems tailor-made to help people over 55 connect and stay fit under today’s unique circumstances.
“Staying fit is challenging enough these past few months,” Eric says. “But social distancing doesn’t mean no socializing.”
As you know, we agree completely. That’s why we’ve been offering virtual training for individuals and for small groups these last few months. We all knew we could deliver safe, effective, workouts. And we’ve all been delighted by the social connections that online exercise provides.
‘My son cares about me’
It’s true for new relationships and those that have existed previously, for family, for friends, and for the support group you see just for exercise. Something about working out together brings us closer. We smile. Our bodies release feel-good endorphins. We encourage each other and hold each other accountable.
Exercise does that for everyone, and it’s particularly vital for mature people during times of stress and isolation.
“My relationship with my dad has changed because of this,” Eric says. “It has been meaningful for him and meaningful for me. It’s a different kind of bond.”
Michael adds, “We see each other more now – and what I like is that my son cares about me.”
Holly Kouvo is a personal trainer, functional aging specialist, senior fitness specialist, brain health trainer, writer, and speaker.