Fitness coach pushes senior health as Canadians live longer

Seniors fitness boot campA Calgary fitness coach says keeping the body and mind engaged is more and more important for seniors as Canadian life expectancy continues to rise.

“We are not dying at 60 anymore, we are living to 100, so in reality they have got a third of their life left,” Derek Shannon told CBC News.

Derek Shannon of Calgary South Fit Body Boot Camp says seniors may be surprised at what they can accomplish. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

Shannon is the owner and head coach of Calgary South Fit Body Boot Camp.

“We want them to be functional, we want them to be able to chase their kids, we want them to be able to golf, we want them to be able to go ballroom dancing.”

A recent life expectancy study found women and men are living longer.

Canadians born in 2030 will live longer by a few years — to age 84 for men and 87 for women — than the preceding generation, according to a U.K. study that projects life expectancies in 35 industrialized countries will continue to climb.

The life expectancy for males born in 2010 is just shy of 80 and for females it’s 84.

Shannon says staying active, along with a good diet, can reduce the seriousness of some falls and injuries.

A fitness coach says senior health, both body and mind, is increasingly important as Canadians are living longer. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

“We need to keep building that muscle mass, we need to keep building that bone density so that if something happens — if you wipe out on the ice, if you fall — you are not breaking stuff,” he said.

Age for some, is just a state of mind, he explained.

“These guys are capable of so much more than we give them credit for, than they give themselves credit for. Some of these guys put our regular boot campers to shame, it is amazing,” Shannon said.

Canadians born in 2030 will live longer by a few years — to age 84 for a man and 87 for a woman — than the preceding generation, a U.K. study projects. (Monty Kruger/CBC)

His Super 60+ Camp program has seniors who are in their 80s.

“They have limitations. You just work within your limitations but don’t let it stop you from being active, don’t be afraid,” he said.

“It is not only keeping the body engaged, it is keeping the mind engaged and that is a big piece. Don’t be afraid to try different things, don’t be afraid to pick up weights, don’t be afraid to get that body moving.”

And there can be a flip side to limitations too.

“You start to understand what your limitations are and you start to understand what your limitations aren’t.”