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Want to live long and be healthy? Get moving ...

G

eorge Flower is a busy man: • For the past 20 years he’s been involved with the Friends of Mount Rubidoux — an organization dedicated to preserving Mount Rubidoux Park — and currently serves as president of the 400-member group. • He’s chairman of Evergreen Memorial Historic Cemetery, the nonprofit organization that supports the historic portion of the cemetery and is seeking to raise more than $3 million for a perpetual maintenance endowment at the place where some of Riverside’s most storied citizens are laid to rest. • He’s a commercial real estate broker, handling small shopping centers. • He runs about three days each week. Oh, and did we mention that he’s 86 years old? Flower lauds the benefits of running and staying active. “I just feel good, I feel better,” he said. He’s been pounding the pavement for about 40 years, ever since he began while trying to get in shape to go snow skiing. He has participated in many 5Ks and 10Ks, and even ran a half-marathon on the Great Wall of China at age 75. He received a wristwatch for being the oldest finisher. And closer to home, Flower has participated in all but two of the Mission Inn Runs through downtown Riverside. For the 34th annual event in November, he signed up for the 5K. Flower continued to run about 100 miles a month until 15 years ago, when he cut his distance. Now he covers a mile three times a week. He ‘I’m already has a wry sense of humor about his running — a winner when and his long life. I cross the start “I’m already a winner line. I don’t have to when I cross the start outrun anyone. I’ve line,” he says of his races. just outlived them.’ “I don’t have to outrun

anyone. I’ve just outlived them.” He encourages others to run as well. “A few people claimed I got them involved, and one man said I saved his life,” he said. That may very well be true, as the health benefits of an active lifestyle are well-known — and recent high-profile athletes have taken on challenges in their older years that wouldn’t Dr. Paul Hartfield have been considered a generation ago. ‘Staying active Twice this year, Hall of Fame is the key to swimmer Diana Nyad, 61, attempted to swim from Cuba longevity. You to Florida. Another swimmer, are never too 40-year-old Janet Evans, an old to start.’ Olympic medalist, is in training for the 2012 Olympic Trials. And five-time Olympic swimmer Dara Torres earned three silver medals during the Beijing Games in 2008 at age 41. She’d given birth to a daughter two years earlier. “Staying active is the key to longevity,” said Dr. Paul Hartfield, chairman of the Kaiser Thrive committee at the Riverside hospital, which encourages healthy living for all patients and employees. “You are never too old to start. Studies have shown that people in their 90s in nursing homes still develop muscle mass when they do some resistance training. It’s never too late.” The key with any program, he says, is to start slowly and gradually increase the time and amount of repetitions in the workout. “With seniors, resistance training, weight training, Pilates, yoga, calisthenics, biking, running — all are great ways to stay fit. Doing them even a few times a week is beneficial,” Hartfield said. In addition, daily balance exercises are recommended for people over 40, according to the doctor. Other than that, the rest, he says, is easy. Seniors should get eight to nine hours of sleep each night, contrary to a belief that sleep time generally reduces as we age. “You actually need more sleep as you get older. The sleep cycle becomes lighter with age, so you need a tad december 2011 - january 2012 | riversidethemag.com | 35

Riverside Magazine  

Abraham and Vanover took an idea, improved it and turned it into a wonderful gift to the community. Their engagement and buy-in is just the...

Riverside Magazine  

Abraham and Vanover took an idea, improved it and turned it into a wonderful gift to the community. Their engagement and buy-in is just the...

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