If you take a fitness class with Ruth Hernandez, you’d likely think she was in her 20’s based on how much energy she has. She’s quick on her feet and has a clear passion for fitness, which makes believing that she’s in her 60’s all the difficult. According to Ruth, it’s all thanks to exercise.
Hernandez says she bounces up in the mornings, filled with energy, but it’s not just her body that is benefiting, it’s her mind and memory as well.
Everyone knows that exercise is great for your body, but medical science confirms what Ruth thinks, exercise is helping her brain maybe even more than her body. Dr. Jordan Metzl, a sports medicine physician at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York confirms that regular exercise results in less depression, better memory, better concentration, and reduced risk in Alzheimer’s disease. By exercising regularly four to five times a week, your brain receives just as much, if not more benefit than your body.
As we age, our muscles, tissues, and bone tend to deteriorate and that process accelerates after we reach 50 or 60 years of age. Regular exercise can slow that deterioration. Regular exercise reduces that amount of inflammation circulating through your body and chronic inflammation it what fuels and increases heart disease, diabetes, almost all major diseases. There is no drug as effective or available to reduce chronic inflammation that works as well as exercising four or five times a week.
Hernandez has been teaching fitness classes for a group of about 30 women three days a week in Queens, New York, with the focus of helping women in her age range get and stay fit. All of the women in Hernandez’s class are above the age of 50 and most are retired. In addition, Hernandez has worked for 17 years with New York City Parks Department to coordinate afterschool recreational activities for kids.
The women who attend Hernandez’s fitness class three times a week say they have less anxiety, more energy, and enjoy the sense of community that the class provides. Many say that the class helps them feel stronger, both mentally and physically. The women have nicknamed themselves “The Divas” and that they push each other to work harder, helping build the sense of community.
Hernandez has designed the class to be a fitness class, not a “senior fitness class” and she pushes herself to demonstrate that if she can do, so can the women in her class. She says she’s seen the women become happier, healthier, experience less back and joint pain, and become more confident.
Hernandez likes to finish the class with a dance sessions where the women dance it out, sometimes still with weights in their hands. Hernandez wants her students to realize that it’s amazing what the body can do, no matter what age you are.
“Fitness has no age, there’s no limit. Fitness is for life…..and I’m proof.”