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Health and Fitness for Older Veterans

Veterans planking at the Gym

VA’s Geriatrics and Extended Care (GEC) and Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Centers are serious about promoting health and fitness for older Veterans.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Gerofit is one example of how GEC honors Veterans’ preferences for health, independence, and well-being even in the face of aging, disability, or serious illness.

Listen to Veterans in their 80s and 90s describe their great successes in the program.

”Some folks came in here hardly able to walk and now they are running.“

September is Healthy Aging Month. There are 46 million Americans over 65 — 14 percent of the U.S. population.

Veterans working out together

Gerofit is a fitness and health promotion program implemented in several VA Medical Centers across the country:

  • Durham, N.C.
  • Baltimore, Md.
  • Bakersfield, Calif.
  • Canandaigua, N.Y.
  • Honolulu, Hawaii
  • Los Angeles, Calif.
  • Miami, Fla.
  • Salem, Va.
  • Rochester, N.Y.

Gerofit is modeled on a long-standing successful program based in Durham, N.C. which has achieved benefits to program participants, including improved fitness, mobility, well-being, longevity, and reduced cardiovascular risk factors.

Gerofit reduces the need for nursing home care by developing and delivering individually tailored, functionally-based exercise for program participants, in addition to improving physical health.

Veteran John Knight, 91 years oldVeteran John Knight, 91-year-old Gerofit program participant from the Greater Los Angeles VA, performs push-ups.

Gerofit helps Veterans develop local networks of social support, enhancing emotional and overall well-being.

VA’s Office of Rural Health is partnering with Geriatrics and Extended Care, helping expand the Gerofit program to Veterans in rural areas, using video-based Telehealth to reach VA community based outpatient clinics.

VA encourages Veterans everywhere to become more active and stay strong. More information on the Gerofit program.