Health and Fitness Information for Mature Adults 

June 16, 2009

Table of Contents

  • SFA Out and About (Introduction to special issue)
  • SFA at the University of San Francisco (Innovative professional training)
  • SFA Author Jim Evans Honored (US Natural Bodybuilding Hall of Fame)
  • SFA Brain Power (Cognitive fitness program wins accolades)

SFA Out and About

This issue of Experience! celebrates recent achievements by members and specific initiatives of the American Senior Fitness Association (SFA). Today's articles provide just a small sampling of how SFA affiliates make a positive difference in the world every day. We include these examples to recognize and salute all of our hardworking SFA members!

SFA at the University of San Francisco

SFA National Advisory Board member, Dr. Christian Thompson of the University of San Francisco, recently handed the association a major challenge, then partnered with us to achieve resounding success! Although he had overseen previous SFA training activities, this time the object was more ambitious. The goal was to shepherd 24 physical activity leaders through SFA's Senior Fitness Instructor professional certificate program in a condensed time frame comprising only four contact days over two consecutive weekends.

Why did this represent a daunting task? SFA educational programs are "notoriously" comprehensive, a chief reason SFA earned the 2009 National Council on Aging, Health Promotion Institute, Best Practice Award. Triumphantly, a wholly feasible education-delivery system was developed and implemented, thanks to a productive collaboration between SFA and Dr. Thompson -- not to mention the dedication of his motivated students.

SFA is pleased to announce that we can now make this plan available to other universities, colleges, health-fitness facilities, and education providers. More about that at the end of this article -- but, first, the inspirational story of San Francisco's outstanding new Senior Fitness Instructor graduates:

Activity professionals and volunteers from 12 different senior service organizations came together for two weekends at the Aquatic Park Senior Center in San Francisco for SFA's Senior Fitness Instructor workshop. Four all-day sessions -- held on February 28, March 1, 7 and 8 -- were led by the University of San Francisco's Dr. Christian Thompson, who has been educating the community on older adult fitness leadership for more than 10 years.

Participants learned how to structure safe and effective exercise programs for older adults and had the opportunity to practice effective exercise leadership strategies including how to provide appropriate cueing, feedback, and how to track progress through regular assessment.

The 24 participants are now actively involved with leading exercise as a part of the Always Active program -- a citywide program in San Francisco that provides exercise and health promotion classes at eight senior centers throughout the city. The Always Active program, funded through a generous grant by the City of San Francisco, has served more than 1,000 older adults since its inception in 2007.

On May 15, 2009, as a part of the Always Active Spring Celebration, the 24 activity professionals and volunteers from San Francisco were honored as the most recent graduates of SFA's Senior Fitness Instructor program.

More than 200 seniors attended the celebration held on the campus of the University of San Francisco and were treated to a Wellness Walk around the beautiful campus, lunchtime entertainment, and a keynote talk and activity session led by fitness personality Joanie Greggains. Following Joanie's energizing presentation and workout, Dr. Thompson presided over the graduation ceremony for SFA's latest graduating class. The graduates were hailed by the large crowd and presented with their professional certificates by the Deputy Mayor of San Francisco, Katherine Todd.

SFA president Janie Clark joined in the enthusiasm, saying, "I've been an admirer of Joanie Greggains ever since I led workouts that she designed for a major health club chain earlier in my career." She continued, "SFA always greatly enjoys working with Dr. Thompson, the Active Living program, the University of San Francisco, and the City of San Francisco. We are very, very proud of these new SFA graduates!"

The students lauded Dr. Thompson's masterful delivery of the course material. One added, "It was informative, fun, and will be useful to me both personally and professionally. This is an excellent program and should be continued as an excellent resource for seniors in the community."

Guided-class schedules for this program are available in: (1) the intensive two-weekend format successfully conducted in San Francisco, and (2) longer, more time-flexible formats. Instructor resources include detailed day-by-day and hour-by-hour lesson plans, learning activity suggestions and instructions, study assignments, student handouts, quizzes, answer keys, video training, and a PowerPoint presentation created by Dr. Christian Thompson. For more information, call SFA headquarters toll-free at 888-689-6791.

SFA Author Jim Evans Honored

Experience! readers know James Evans -- a 41-year veteran of the health-fitness industry -- from his practical, informative articles that appear frequently in this newsletter. But did you know that Jim is also a driving force behind the natural bodybuilding movement? Indeed, his longstanding work for the cause was rewarded on June 6, 2009, in a ceremony during the finals portion of the OCB (Organization of Competitive Bodybuilders) Natural Southwest Bodybuilding & Figure Classic in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Jim was named the sole inductee into the U.S. Natural Bodybuilding Hall of Fame for 2009!

The following biographical information about Jim comes from the April 2009 issue of the OCB Natural Newsletter:

Jim Evans was born on June 15, 1945, in Riverdale, Maryland. As a varsity wrestler and world-class powerlifter at Ohio State University (OSU) in Columbus and president of the OSU Weightlifting Club in the early 1960s, Jim became exposed early to the illicit use of anabolic steroids among athletes and became strongly opposed to them from both a health and moral perspective. Years later, when two 14-year-old youngsters, both members of one of his gyms in Minnesota, became involved with steroids, he knew he had to take an active stand against steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs.

Jim began working with the U.S. Customs Department, Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Minnesota Board of Pharmacy, Minnesota Board of Medical Examiners, and the Minnesota High School League to combat steroids, and teamed with top natural athletes to speak at high schools and middle schools about the dangers of steroid use. Jim also worked with the DEA in the arrest and prosecution of persons selling illegal steroids and testified before state legislatures in support of tougher enforcement and penalties for the illegal possession or sale of steroids. As a result of his efforts to combat steroids, Jim was subjected to physical assault, threats against his family, and his gyms were vandalized, but he continued to be an outspoken critic of performance-enhancing drugs.

Jim founded the North American Natural Bodybuilding Association (NANBA) in Minnesota in 1984 to create an alternative for drug-free bodybuilders, and formed a long and cooperative alliance with Jack O'Bleness and the American Bodybuilding Coordinating Committee (ABCC) in Los Angeles. He was a charter inductee of the ABCC Natural Bodybuilding Hall of Fame. Jim led NANBA until 1990, establishing chapters in 17 states employing urine testing, blood testing, and polygraph to monitor the integrity of its athletes. He promoted the very first World Natural Bodybuilding Federation pro show in 1989 in conjunction with NANBA: the Pro/Am Natural Mr./Ms. Universe.

Jim Evans is a widely published author and internationally recognized fitness consultant. Since the early 1990s, much of his work has focused on issues of health, fitness, and quality of life for older adults. Congratulations, Jim, on being named the 2009 U.S. Natural Bodybuilding Hall of Fame Inductee!

SFA Brain Power

SFA's new professional education program, Brain Fitness for Older Adults, is being warmly received both by students and expert reviewers. To read the review by MIND360 -- a leading scientific brain-training games developer for improving memory, attention, executive functions, reasoning, and other vital cognitive skills -- please click on Brain Fitness Program to the Rescue.

Students of the Brain Fitness for Older Adults distance-learning program call it "exceptional," "unparalleled," "comprehensive," "well thought out," and "up to date." Asked by SFA for suggestions for future editions, one student proposed large type, another more rigorous test questions, another personalized handout software, and a few have offered ideas for additional content and practical applications support. Earnestly and thoughtfully, SFA members are putting the course's principles to good use for the lasting benefit of their senior health-fitness participants. Below are further remarks by recent graduates of the Brain Fitness for Older Adults professional education program:

  • "I enjoyed the information, the individual stories, and the history including origins of diseases. Thank you for reminding me of the 'power' of the brain. I'm anxious to share with our senior fitness class!"
  • "[I liked] its applicability to me personally (I'm 70) and professionally (as a personal trainer)."
  • "[It is] presented in a way that is easy to learn and retain...I also liked having specific examples and ways it can be modified for ability level."
  • "[I liked] the variety of subject and activities covered."
  • "I love learning about structures and functioning of the brain. I also enjoyed learning and better understanding the medical terminology and scientific terms related to cognition. I work mostly with people who have Parkinson's or Parkinson's-like disease, and see firsthand some of the decline in executive function. This course will help me with my further understanding of the dynamics of cognitive functioning."
  • "The topic was thoroughly covered in both written and visual media."
  • "I particularly like the inclusion of the stress management booklet. The applications are appropriately detailed yet short enough to use as a culminating activity at the end of my group workout sessions."
  • "[I liked the] ease of understanding the material presented, especially scientific jargon."
  • For an in-depth description of SFA's Brain Fitness for Older Adults professional education program -- including detailed course content, selected text excerpts, peer reviewers' comments, and ordering information -- please click on Brain Fitness.

    Experience! readers: Thank you for your interest and questions. Due to the high volume of contacts SFA receives, we cannot respond to individual queries or comments. However, the newsletter does address frequently asked questions and topics of vital interest to our members.

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