Seventy is the new 50, according to the Village of Fruitvale.
The community is getting behind its fit seniors and “middlers” with a new free workout facility in the basement of the Fruitvale Memorial Centre.
“A lot of people have one or two pieces of fitness equipment at home, but they don’t have the whole gamut,” said Lila Cresswell, village chief administrative officer.
The Gym went from idea to reality when the village received a $25,000 seniors’ grant from the government this spring and was backed by other local contributors. The funding covered the cost of brand new equipment such as a rowing machine, a couple treadmills and ellipticals, a stationary bike and much more.
“The idea of seniors has changed,” said Cresswell. “There are different stages of seniors, but I really believe that the seniors that are between 55 and 70 are extremely active.”
Numbers don’t lie. The village already has over 100 Beaver Valley residents who “identify as seniors” signed up with swipe cards armed, ready for orientation today.
The community was invited in for a sneak peak Tuesday during a seniors luncheon when excitement was shared amongst those packed into the former club room.
“They were thrilled,” added Cresswell. “They all plunked right on the equipment, started it up and had a look at it.”
The village has temporarily repurposed the smaller room while they go after further funding to renovate a larger space on the other side of the hall’s bowling alley. For the next month, they will be keeping a keen eye on usage and expect quite a response from not just those looking to sign up, but others wanting to add their expertise to the community initiative.
Beaver Valley Clinic is on board and fitness users can expect heart monitoring and blood pressure checks during “workout with your doc,” a new program in addition to “walk with your doc.”
The Beaver Valley continues to focus on its age-friendly plan by keeping “coffee with Vickie” Fitzpatrick, a chance for local seniors to get in touch and share what they’d like to see in their communities.
“(Being age-friendly) is all about making a community accessible, welcoming and engaging for the ageing demographic,” said Cresswell. “You really want to keep people involved and healthy and the more social inclusion and activity you have, the healthier your seniors or adults are going to be.”
It was clear fitness was a priority but joining the rest of the crowd at a general drop in facility was not what seniors were after, according to Cresswell.
“They wanted their own space,” she added. “It’s geared toward seniors and middlers. I’m a middler. I’m not on old pension but at the same point, I don’t necessarily identify as being in my mid-life anymore, either.”
The Gym is available from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. with a swipe card that the village’s “mature” residents can be pick up from the village office.