Vintage Fitness Press Releases
Exercise Helps Marginalized Seniors
Toronto, ON (May 12, 2011) –Marginalized seniors are coping with poverty, mental illness, language barriers, isolation and addiction. Group exercise classes may not be the primary solution however regular group exercise classes can help make marginalized seniors stronger and better able to cope.
Vintage Fitness, a Toronto-based company that specializes in energizing the lives of people over 50 with exercise, has been teaching group exercise and wellness workshops to marginalized seniors in Toronto with amazing results. The classes started four years ago in Parkdale with a generous donation by a client’s relative to a not for profit agency called LOFT Community Services. LOFT is one of the city’s major charities providing services to marginalized men and women of all ages, with a special focus on those with mental health and addiction challenges and histories of homelessness. The group met weekly for a 45 minute class that focused on strengthening and stretching.
“I quickly realized how important the classes had become to the participants” said Vintage Fitness founder, Erin Billowits. “The group looked forward to the class all morning and talked about how important the social part of the program was to them”. This strong bond combined with how the exercises made them feel encouraged LOFT community services to expand the exercise program to their downtown facility.
The expanded program, called ‘Socialcise’, was started in the fall of 2008 and included three exercise classes every week with time to connect and socialize built into the class. The planning and organization of the classes was a great partnership between LOFT community services, Vintage Fitness, the tenants association of the building (423 Yonge Street) and Toronto Housing. Regular fitness assessments were done using the Seniors Fitness Test to track the progress of the group. Within the first year of the program, the participants increased their level strength by 15%, arm strength by 18%, doubled their cardiovascular endurance, increased the flexibility in their hamstrings and shoulders and improved their agility by 16%. Strong social ties were formed and the group grew to an average of 26 people attending the class.
The program has evolved in the last year keeping exercise as the pillar of the program and starting to develop leadership skills of the group by inviting participants to plan and organize the sessions and including community agencies such as Women’s College Hospital, Community Outreach Programs in Addictions (COPA), Heart and Stroke Foundation (Ontario Chapter) to present workshops.
The success of ‘Socialcise’ encouraged COPA, a community organization providing holistic, innovative and non- judgmental addictions, concurrent disorders and problem gambling service to older persons, to run a weekly exercise class in Parkdale. The classes included education on topics such as fall prevention, nutrition, heart healthy lifestyle choices and managing addiction. Carly Murdock, the Vintage Fitness instructor explains that “the class means a lot to each member of it. It is a wonderful group who come out every single Monday no matter what and left feeling great. This group needs this class for more than just physical activity. It helps stimulate them cognitively, emotionally and socially which makes it so wonderful. They are a dedicated, motivating, inspiring group of people! ”
After four years of working with seniors in Toronto , Erin Billowits, has seen group exercise programs transform the lives of marginalized seniors by strengthening their bodies, minds and improving their feeling of inclusion and self worth. This transformation is best described in the words of a participant of the downtown LOFT community services program; “the only other thing that I have ever completed is a cigarette…this is the first good thing that I have ever finished”
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How to make health resolutions that work
TORONTO, ON (January 2, 2011) - 80% of all resolutions are broken by January 31st. Health related ones like weight loss and more time in the gym, are history by January 15th by 90% of people (Fred Tutwiler, Ezinearticles.com).
Why do so many people fail to achieve their resolutions and what lessons can we learn from people that can make them work?
Erin Billowits, the founder of Vintage Fitness, an Ontario based company that specializes in fitness for people 50 plus, helps clients set and achieve their resolutions every day.
Cathy Kelly knew that she needed to make some changes when the scale hit 200 lbs. She was afraid of failing because she tried to lose the weight for over 20 years. Her daughter, Kelly, knew her struggle and suggested a Vintage Fitness gift certificate as a Christmas gift last year. Cathy remembers balking at the idea because she was embarrassed to own up to where she was. “I decided I would give it a try but really didn't think I would make it. I felt the struggle when even walking on the treadmill was so challenging but couldn't disappoint Kelly or tell my trainer I didn't think I could do it. After a few weeks I realized going to my condo gym, not having to get in my car or be with other people---surrounded by fit bodies, that I could try this seriously for a while. Things started to happen and change rather quickly and I felt differently mentally and physically”
Cathy is now buying clothes five sizes smaller, her blood pressure is down and everywhere she goes people tell her how great she looks. In the last couple weeks she bought her first pair of jeans ever.
What tips do Cathy and her trainer have for you?
- Become truly ready to change: admit to yourself why you are in this place and know that you can't do this for anyone else, just you.
- Mindful treats: Treat yourself but always ask if it is worth it. “At one point in my life, I would just eat, now I evaluate my decisions and sometimes it is worth it!” says Cathy
- Be accountable: keep a food diary and show it to your trainer or a buddy as well as logging all of your exercise
- Build a support team: We all like to think that we can make big changes in our lives on our own but it is really tough. Your friends and family need to commit to change their behaviour to support you. If they are not willing, hire a professional: life coach, personal trainer, nutritionist depending on your goals.
- Go beyond the scale: The number on the scale should be only one of a range of metrics to help you measure your progress. Waist girth, blood pressure and resting heart rate are other easy measurements to track.
- Include strength training: One of the most common mistakes that people make with planning their exercise schedule is leaving out strength training. No matter what your age or health goals you should be using weights or exercise bands or just your own body weight to build strength and lean tissue two-four times a week.
The reason that so many people give up on their health resolutions is because they don’t have a proper plan that they truly believe will work that they stay accountable to. Make this your year to succeed!
About Vintage Fitness
Established in 2005, Vintage Fitness is a Toronto-based company specializing in fitness for people over the age of 50. Vintage Fitness offers personal training with ‘older adult fitness specialized’ personal trainers across the GTA and group exercise classes focused on improving balance, strength, flexibility and cardiovascular health. Released in 2008, Vintage Fitness produced a home strength and training program on DVD, Strength and Balance, to improve the strength and balance of Canadian boomers. www.vintagefitness.ca
A NEW EXERCISE DVD THAT WILL STRENGTHEN CANADIAN BOOMERS
Toronto, ON (February 29, 2008) –Canada is getting older. According to the 2006 Statistics Canada Census, the 65-and-over population made up a record 13.7% of the total population of Canada. The number of people aged 55 to 64, many of whom are workers approaching retirement, has never been so high at close to 3.7 million in 2006.
In the wake of our aging population, many people are searching for ways to keep boomers healthy and independent. Vintage Fitness, a Toronto based company specializing in fitness for those over the age of 50, has launched a first of its kind DVD, Strength and Balance, to improve the strength and balance of Canadian boomers.
The DVD is 50 minutes long and is broken into eight short segments that strengthen specific areas, such as legs, arms, lower back, and chest. The simple exercises also improve balance and flexibility. What makes the DVD unique and appropriate for boomers is that seated and standing options are always suggested, the instructors explain how the exercises will help with everyday activities and it works if you are 50 or 90 depending on which difficulty level you choose.
“Exercise is a powerful medicine that can keep boomers healthy and independent,” says Erin Billowits, founder of Vintage Fitness. “Strength training is done by less than 10 per cent of Canadian seniors, yet hundreds of studies prove that older adults can safely get stronger at any age. Strength training has extensive benefits such as increasing bone density, decreasing body fat, reducing the risk of falls and improving daily functioning such as walking speed and reaction time,” explains Billowits.
People are raving about the DVD:
“I love how the exercises are shown both seated and standing, doing this DVD makes me feel stronger even though I do most of the exercises sitting down” – DJ Peaker
“I certainly can endorse the great fitness DVD which I will take to Florida with us. I will take it with me and will try to keep up with Erin's fitness program as much as I am able” – Elaine Eddy
“The Vintage Fitness DVD has been the best gift that I have given my mother in years! After a visit to the doctor my mother has been worried about her bone density, she now has a way to build her bones no matter what the weather and without the expense of a gym membership” – Brandie
“The international council on active aging highly recommends this DVD. The exercises will make everyday activities easier and help older adults to stay independent” – Julie McNeney, Chief Operating Officer
To order a DVD for yourself or for a loved one, go to www.vintagefitness.ca.
Fitness that goes beyond a Bikini Body
Toronto, ON (February 1, 2008) – All of the magazine headlines that promise flatter abs in days and boot camp bikini bodies are missing the point. Exercise can deliver life transforming benefits. Physical activity will definitely make you look trimmer and healthier, but it will also build your bone density, prevent diabetes, and keep you on the dance floor and out of the nursing home.
Erin Billowits, the founder of Vintage Fitness, a Toronto-based company that specializes in fitness for people over 50, sees exercise change her client’s lives every day. Brenda, a 65-year-old real estate agent, used to hate exercise but decided to hire a personal trainer after news from her doctor that she had osteopenia (low bone density that can be a precursor to osteoporosis) in her hips and back. After six months of hard work in the gym twice a week, including weight lifting and lots of squats, Brenda went back to her doctor and learned she no longer had osteopenia. It was the most dramatic increase in bone density over a six-month period that her doctor had ever seen.
Wendy, a 53-year-old sales executive, saw her life spiraling out of control after complications from a surgery left her with a balance disorder, severe swelling in her legs and a fear of falling. After interviewing four other personal trainers who wanted to push too hard, too fast, she starting training with Vintage Fitness. “Erin really listens and works with you at a pace that you are comfortable with,” says Wendy. “She focuses on life goals, not just the number on the scale. Wendy has lost 20 pounds in nine months but more importantly, “her leg strength has increased from the fifth percentile to the 80th for people in her age group. Instead of sitting on the sidelines during her daughter’s wedding she danced with her four-year-old grandson who looked up at her and said “Grandma, you are getting better”.
Wonder if you should address the journalist here, as in: For an interview on the benefits of exercise tailored to adults 50+, or a review copy of her “Strength and Balance” DVD, contact Erin Billowits at the number below. If you want motivation to get moving, information on classes and personal training, or to purchase a home exercise “Strength and Balance” DVD tailored for adults 50+, go to www.vintagefitness.ca.
Toronto, June 5th, 2007
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY-- THE NEW PRESCRIPTION FOR AGING BOOMER POPULATION
Vintage Fitness, a Toronto based fitness service for adults 50 plus turned two today with an extensive list of programs suited specifically to seniors wanting to address and prevent health concerns. Founder and Director, Erin Billowits, a seasoned athlete and certified personal trainer with specialized accreditation in "older adult fitness", says her company philosophy and approach understands that the needs of older adults encompasses more than just exercise.
Health practitioners and news headlines inundate seniors with warnings about age-related risks of disease and injury and the unequivocal benefits of exercise. In the year 2000, 85 per cent of admissions to Canadian hospitals of people over the age of 65 were due to falls.1 Conversely, an eight year study of nearly 7300 women ages 40 to 65 found that women who exercised vigorously for 90 minutes a week had a 30 to 40 per cent lower risk of heart attack than sedentary women.
"Older adults are generally well educated about their health issues, " explains thirty-four year-old Billowits, whose interest in fitness began as a teenager and has lead to boxing and running marathons. "Aging adults need the reassurance of one-on-one attention from a certified personal trainer. Most fear they will injure themselves if they initiate an exercise regimen on their own. They also seek an opportunity to interact with others. We offer both the physical and social elements they need within a framework catering exclusively to their age group."
Billowits, a certified fitness instructor for more than a decade, has a specialized accreditation in "older adult fitness". The credential separates her from other trainers with specific knowledge of medical conditions more likely to affect seniors such as osteoporosis, heart disease and arthritis. Her training makes her more attentive to the symptoms of such diseases and able to modify exercises appropriately.
"It's encouraging to see retirement residences support and facilitate exercise for their tenants," says Billowits. "Adult children of aging parents are pleasantly surprised to see fitness memberships and exercise rooms available. Gift certificates of personal training sessions are a popular incentive to get exercise routines established."
Billowits has trained clients ranging from aged 65 to 79, all with varying ailments or reasons to start exercising. After replacing both knees and suffering a heart attack, the doctor of a 79 year old client commented on how significantly her heart had strengthened since implementing a fitness program with Billowits. A 66 year old woman who started exercise following the death of her husband was feeling isolated and worried that she wouldn't have enough energy to play with her grandchildren. Exercising with Billowits has created a new network of friends and the endurance of a super granny.