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Staying fit and healthy after 50 ... or 60 ... or 70 ... or 80 ... or...
April 26 health fair, CalFIT classes, promote vibrant aging among the campus’s most senior community members

| 23 April 2003


There’s no age limit on staying fit for Professor Emerita Paola Timiras, 79, a student in one of CalFIT’s strength-training classes.
Peg Skorpinski photo

Nobel laureate Charles Townes, 87, pumps iron. So do faculty member Paola Timiras (79), staffer Ronnie London (58), and scores of older adults taking general-interest CalFIT classes or special “50+” classes geared to those who can remember the words to “When I Take My Sugar to Tea,” the election of Harry Truman, or the names of the original Mouseketeers.

London, a student-affairs officer in the School of Public Health, had two thoughts in mind when she enrolled in a strength-training class at the Recreational Sports Facility: avoiding osteoporosis (strength training helps prevent bone loss) and Marco, her new grandson — now 18 pounds and counting.

“I end up picking him up from odd positions,” says London. “At least I don’t have to worry as much that I’m going to pull a muscle.” Her Strength Express class includes fitness aspirants of many ages “all mixed in there together” — from limber freshmen to three members aged 91, 89, and 82, whose presence adds much to the mix for London. It’s inspiring, she says, to see classmates motivated to keep physically fit into their 80s and 90s.

Others born before or during the Baby Boom are working on their yoga poses, improving balance and coordination, and stretching their ligaments in Yoga 50+, Tai Chi 50+, Strength Training 50+, and Keep Moving 50+ — the latter a smorgasbord of light but challenging exercise done to music. Gently paced “50+” classes are also appropriate for those of any age recovering from an injury, says CalFIT coordinator Susanne McQuade. Most of these classes take place during morning hours in the newly refurbished Strawberry Canyon facility, which offers a bucolic setting and free parking.

When not lifting freeweights, Timiras, a professor emerita of molecular and cell biology, chairs the Center for Research and Education in Aging, one of the organizations offering a fair on healthful aging from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, April 26. Talks and discussion on nutrition and exercise will be offered in 2050 Valley Life Sciences. Experts will also be on hand in the building’s courtyard to demonstrate Hawaiian dancing, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, and other health and fitness modalities, and to provide nutritional analyses, body-fat and bone-density measurements, and more.

The CREA health fair is free to students, $5 for others. For information or to register, see crea.berkeley.edu/AprilFairProgram.html. For information on CalFIT classes, see calbears.berkeley.edu/calfitor contact Susanne McQuade at 643-8032.