CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio — A spunky senior in Ohio is helping energize older adults to keep moving.

What You Need To Know

  • Doctors recommend 30 minutes of exercise, five days a week

  • Benefits of exercise include: lower risk of joint problems, help managing diabetes, improved mood

  • Ms. Duck's free workout videos are on Cleveland Heights Parks and Recreation's Facebook page

“I’m 80, but I don’t feel like I’m 80,” said Ms. Duck. “I don’t feel like it.”

Ms. Duck has been leading exercise classes for her friends at the Cleveland Heights Community Center for 13 years.

“I figure if I can do it, maybe some of my people that I have camaraderie with, maybe they can do that,” she said. “That’s why I devised the program in the first place.”

She takes moves from professional exercise routines and modifies them for her peers.

Before COVID-19, about 25 folks would come to her free weekly workouts. Now, because of social distancing, she posts her own workout videos on Facebook and socializes with the viewers virtually.

“We’re just trying to keep the body working,” said Ms. Duck. “We’re not trying to lose any weight or anything, because a lot of them are older, and their bones are brittle. And I don’t want nobody falling down.”

Falling is a real concern to doctors.

“Sometimes once somebody has had a fall, they tend to develop a fear of falling and actually become less physically active, which makes things worse,” said Dr. Amanda Lathia of University Hospitals.

Experts recommend 30 minutes of exercise five days a week. Dr. Lathia said it’s something people need to stick with.

“It’s going to take time for anybody to build stamina, so you’re just going to have to be persistent and keep a positive outlook,” she said. “And just keep at it.”

But, people should listen to their body.

“Know your own body,” said Dr. Lathia. “Know yourself, know your own limits. And, if you start feeling short of breath, if you start feeling tired, then rest.”

She said people don’t have to do intense exercise, even walking counts.

“The more you do it, the more your body actually starts to crave the exercise,” said Dr. Lathia. “And it gets easier.”

Doctors said staying active can help lower the risk of joint problems and help with management of diabetes and heart disease. Plus, it helps improve moods.

“Most of them feel kind of energetic, you know, when they get through the class,” said Ms. Duck. “I know I do. I’m pumped.”

Ms. Duck’s free virtual exercise classes are posted on the Cleveland Heights Parks and Recreation Facebook page.