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Meet Your New Hero: 72-Year-Old Rocco Marianni

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"You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.” –Comedian George Burns

Older Americans are often underestimated… in the boardroom, on stage, and yes, in the gym. I’ve spoken with a handful of people who see me using Core Flytes at the gym or watch a Core Flyte video and say “that’s looks too hard for me… it must be only for young athletes.” Oh no it’s not! Yes, NFL players are using it in their offseason to train, but older folks are as well. Just last month, we had a grandmother of two using the Core Flytes – four of them! – one under each foot and each hand, while doing pushups at a trade show in Manhattan. We nicknamed her “Super Gramma!”

Rocco Marianni: Survivor, Golfer, and Core Flyte Enthusiast

In February, I sent a pair of Core Flytes to strength and conditioning coach Christopher Costa for him to use with his clients. Christopher is a well-known product reviewer and writer, and serves as an Expert Contributor for STACK media. I asked Christopher which of his clients is getting the most out of the Core Flytes. His answer: 72-year-old Rocco Marianni. I’ll admit… I was surprised.

It turns out that Rocco is in great shape, yet he has dealt with the normal challenging that accompany the aging process, as well as some very serious health issues. Rocco had open-heart surgery following a “widow maker” heart attack. Following successful surgery for the blockage, he regained his strength and worked with Christopher to improve his athletic performance. This was important to him. Rocco discovered a love for golf in his 50’s. Herniated discs led to back pain which had to be addressed. Christopher explains, “We’ve been working on strengthening his core because strong core muscles support the back much better. I have him use the Core Flytes with planks. He does pikes and lunges with them… he loves them. Rocco also does legs curls rolling the Core Flytes towards himself, hip ups and glute bridges.”

Rocco uses the Core Flytes with Christopher twice a week. Christopher highlights another benefit for Rocco: newness. Christopher says, “The Core Flyte really offers him change: a different way to work out. A lot of people get bored with their workouts. It’s not weight-bearing so it is great for those recovering from injury… and it’s challenging.” Rocco is active outside the gym too: he owns and operates an interior design firm in Haddonfield, New Jersey.

Exercise is Very Important for Older Adults

Most older Americans aren’t like Rocco. Only 22% of Americans age 65 or older report engaging in regular physical activity. The average duration of this physical activity is 17 minutes – compared with 258 average minutes for watching TV.

Leading a sedentary life gets us all intro trouble… from obesity, to diabetes, to high stress. The list goes on. As we age, remaining active is very important for our health. “A central goal of aging research is the identification of what can be done to promote healthy aging,” says National Institute on Aging Director Dr. Richard J. Hodes. “One of the best-established interventions capable of improving health at all ages, including older ages, is exercise.”

Dr. Chhanda Gutta, chief of the NIA’s Clinical Gerontology Branch, says that the research has evolved over the last decade, now placing more emphasis on the value of exercise. Dr. Gutta says, “Ten years ago, there was a mindset that as you become older, you become frail. Since then, we’ve learned a lot more about the capabilities of older adults to exercise. Just because you’re older doesn’t mean you’re going to become frail.”

There are four types of exercise recommended by the National Institute on Aging’s exercise guide:

Endurance: increase the heart rate and breathing with brisk walking, swimming, or dancing

Flexibility: keep your body limber with stretching and proper warmup and cool down

Strength: build and maintain muscle by lifting weights – including using one’s bodyweight

Balance: strengthen the core with stability training, yoga, or Pilates

Each of these, in addition to maintaining a healthy diet and sleep schedule, is important for older adults.

We'd love to hear from you. Who is an older athlete that you know or look up to? Comment below or on our Facebook page, or tweet us at @flytefitness.

Be Flyte Fit,

Jeremy Greenberg

Co-Founder & CEO
Flyte Fitness