June 16: A look at the health and fitness of Summit Vista
They say hiring a personal trainer is worth more than a dozen barely used gym memberships. For Summit Vista residents, that couldn’t be more accurate. And they have Mike Johnson to thank for much of it.
As one of two fitness specialists on staff at Summit Vista, Mike is the guy many residents love—or love to hate (depending on the exercise he has you doing). In either case, no one can deny the positive impact he’s already had on the overall health and fitness of the community.
In a recent interview, we went the rounds with Mike to find out a little more about why he does what he does.
WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO GET INTO THIS LINE OF WORK?
“I’ve been a trainer for 40 years, both privately and within the military. Over that time, I’ve seen many lives changed for the better through improved health and fitness. Now, to see my Summit Vista friends enjoying this time in their lives, while also maintaining or improving their health, is a true privilege.”
WHY IS EXERCISE SO IMPORTANT?
“Our ability to remain active at every stage of life directly affects the quality of life we can expect to enjoy. If you’re healthy and mobile, you have more options and better possibilities available to you. When you aren’t healthy or mobile, you limit what you can do. Helping people open doors to more possibilities is the goal.”
WHAT ARE THE MOST BENEFICIAL TYPES OF EXERCISE YOU RECOMMEND?
“It’s easy to think of exercise as body building or training for a marathon. But our focus needs to first be on functional exercises geared toward improving our daily activity. That includes training our central nervous system to help with balance, conditioning our muscles to improve power and endurance and, most importantly, improving all areas of movement without experiencing pain or limitation.”
WHAT ASPECT OF FITNESS MOST OFTEN GETS OVERLOOKED AS WE AGE?
“Power. As we get older, we tend to let our age call the shots, forgetting that we have the power to maintain our control. What we should be doing is what any good athlete does—conditioning our bodies for optimal daily function, like walking up the stairs without getting winded or using the handrail or getting out of our seats without the need of a little push. Improving or maintaining our power creates energy, and energy creates confidence.”
WHAT CHANGES HAVE YOU WITNESSED WITH CURRENT RESIDENTS?
“I’ve seen residents go from walking with a cane to being spry and cane-free. I’ve seen others improve their posture. Some have commented that they are sleeping without pain or are better able to keep up with the grandkids. I’ve even heard visiting family members comment on how much healthier their parents look compared to when they first moved in.”
IF YOU COULD OFFER ONE BIT OF FITNESS ADVICE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
“Make your exercise and training routine consistent. Simply doing something at least once a week is better than doing nothing at all. And even a little will lead to noticeable improvements. From there, you can increase your regularity as you are able. Once you get to the level of fitness you desire, make it a goal to maintain it.”