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Elk Grove Citizen

Age Well at Home

Jan 11, 2023 12:00AM ● By By Margaret Snider

Your Fitness Genie owner Jenn Alton has been a NASM certified personal fitness trainer for 22 years and specializes in senior fitness. Photo provided by Fitness Genie

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RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - Preserving fitness at an advanced age is a one of the challenges seniors face. The most basic skills, or activities of daily living, include bathing, getting dressed, walking, eating meals, and conserving personal hygiene, but further ability to maintain good mobility and strength can enable seniors to continue living at home. Personal trainer Jenn Alton has taken it as the goal in her business, Your Fitness Genie, to help people do this. When people have problems with stability, walking, or a tendency to fall, Alton pointed out, they may be well enough to exercise, but through discomfort, pain, inertia, dependence on medication, or lack of motivation may not do so. “I feel extremely passionate about my mission statement:  Age well at home,” Alton said.

Using herself as an example, Alton said that she does not like to cook, and has compensated for that over the years by buying a lot of cookbooks, which she doesn’t use. Similarly, people who know they need to exercise may get all the right equipment, buy a nice exercise outfit, but don’t utilize them. They may also not know how to use the equipment and therefore be afraid of injury. “Personal trainers assist by, first, helping people define their goals.”  Trainers also can show clients the correct way of using equipment and exercising to avoid or mitigate injury.

One of Alton’s clients Cyndi Sills, 72, admits she doesn’t like exercise at all. “I have Jennifer come because if she comes, I’ll do it and if she doesn’t, I won’t.”  She has built up enough equipment at her home, Sills said, so that the training can take place right at her house. “We do a variety of things,” Sills said. “We work on cardio and weight training, and for me balance is a big, important thing.”  Although she remembers the different exercises, Sills doesn’t know when to switch from one thing to another. Having Alton there keeps her on track. “When you have Jennifer, she’s the brains behind it, she just says, ‘You do it,’ and then you feel better.”

For 12 years, Alton worked as a personal trainer for 24 Hour Fitness, training clients in an age range of 12 to 92 years. She began Your Fitness Genie around 2002 and saw clients at a local gym as an independent personal trainer. “Exercise really is a benefit for so many of the medical conditions that are out there,” said Alton. She has certifications in several specialties of personal training with NASM (National Association of Sports Medicine), and she has chosen senior fitness as her training specialty.

Alton also encourages her clients to join classes that she teaches at Neil Orchard Senior Center on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. The classes involve active aging chair yoga, floor mat pilates, restorative yoga for the back, and active aging balance and movement.

Another of Alton’s clients is 90-year-old June Huffman. “It is hard for me to get out,” Huffman said, and she also trains at home. “(Alton) is like a breath of fresh air when she comes in,” Huffman said. “She’s always happy and very positive . . . She’s very much aware, in my case anyway, of how I’m feeling and what I’m doing and so forth.”  Huffman said that she does feel better when she works out. “My sons especially notice that there’s a difference when I’m doing it and when I’m not.”

For more information about Your Fitness Genie, call or text Jenn Alton at 916-768-8767.