Get Fit with 6: Staying strong and healthy at 93

Jack Custer, 93, swims everyday at the YMCA and takes exercise classes at Brightmore of Wilmington.
Published: Sep. 19, 2023 at 6:59 AM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - While fall is a time to celebrate the change in season and cooler temperatures, it’s also a time when health experts want to promote fall prevention for aging adults. An exercise routine is one way to do that.

Jack Custer, 93, can’t shoot hoops or play tennis like he used to.

“Not able to run like I was able to, bending over picking up the ball when you’re playing tennis over and over again. Found that hard to do. But coming to the classes, it keeps us pretty fit, I think, and mobile. And we’re able to continue to do a lot of things we used,” Custer said.

He swims everyday at the YMCA and takes exercise classes at Brightmore of Wilmington.

“We do balancing, strengthening and a little rhythm and jazz,” he said.

Haley Kine-Norris is the Inspire Wellness Coordinator for the Liberty Senior Living communities. She says all the classes are geared specifically for seniors.

“Everything that we do in our classes is more towards making everyday tasks easier,” said Kine-Norris.

There are exercises that focus on physical strength to be able to get up out of a chair safely, exercises that help concentrate on coordination to prevent a fall, and ones that focus on fine motor skills to keep brains sharp.

“Definitely trying to create more pathways in the brain. When you develop new skills, new patterns, it’s challenging your brain. And so the more we challenge our brain, the better it works in a sense,” said Kine-Norris.

At a time when many seniors find themselves at home alone, exercise classes offer an opportunity to get out, socialize and meet new friends. Jack has seen a lot in his 93 years, such as a successful career, raising a family and now enjoying retirement.

He wants to make sure other seniors realize they can to.

“Get up and go with it and be active and do all you can do to stay active,” said Custer.

According to the National Council on Aging, more than half of all falls happen at home. Removing clutter, adding grab bars to the bathroom and fixing poor lighting are a few things that can be done to prevent fall risk. Click here for more information on fall prevention and debunking myths about older-adult falls.