Placentia, California, may be known for its quiet neighborhoods, but Placentia Senior Center is shaking things up! Older adults of all ages and abilities can now be seen in and around Old Town Placentia, Brea Mall, Tri-City Park, and Kraemer Park thanks to two new fun and effective evidence-based physical activity programs: Walk With Ease and Active Living Every Day.
For many older adults in Placentia, there is not always time to engage in physical activity - or so they thought! Since the implementation of the Active Living Every Day program in April, participants have had the opportunity to make real changes to their lifestyles and learn new ways to be active and healthy. One participant, Virginia, stated that she is always busy and doesn't always find the time to be physically active. Between taking care of her husband, grandkids, doing chores in the house, going grocery shopping, among other things, it is difficult for her to find the time to exercise. But after the first week of the Active Living Every Day program, Virginia and the other participants realized that they have a lot of free time on their hands where they could be doing something active.
While it may seem daunting to meet the 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity activity, they realize that every little bit of activity counts toward the weekly total. Virginia has realized that she can do 10 minutes of fast walking or gardening in the morning, 10 minutes of cleaning or vacuuming in the afternoon and 10 minutes of brisk walking before dinner. The best part of the program for Virginia was that she learned how to incorporate physical activity into her daily routine in a way that it did not seem like a chore.
She has started parking further from the store, taking the stairs whenever possible and documenting her activity to keep track of her weekly progress. Virginia is a great example of someone that has shaken things up and living a more physically active lifestyle.
Another Placentia resident who is shaking things up is Amelia, who struggled with taking walks prior to the beginning of the Walk With Ease program. Amelia would fatigue quickly and take multiple long breaks, but even though she struggled, she was not discouraged from continuing the program. We were pleasantly surprised that by the third week, she already had improved tremendously and was able to go on short walks with minimal breaks. By the end of the six-week program, Amelia was able to take longer 35-minute walks with a few shorts breaks.
Amelia's story is truly inspiring, as she went from having difficulties comfortably taking short or long walks to being able to complete walks with little to no breaks. She is truly dedicated and determined to achieve a healthier lifestyle and she takes the information she learns every week and implements it into her daily life.
The City of Placentia is constantly looking for ways to keep the community healthy and active. The implementation of the Walk With Ease and Active Living Every Day programs has been one way that our older adult community has been able to get out and about and shake up their daily routines. The Placentia Community Services Department can't wait to see the results the next sessions will bring.
Vinnie Villapando and Jocelyn Garcia are recreation instructors for the City of Placentia.