By: Kara Duffy
June 18, 2013
Thomasville, GA- Virginia Burns is on a mission to live a happy healthy life and she isn't letting anything get in her way; not even stage four cancer.
"When I came in, I couldn't even raise my arms above my head," said Burns, a member of the Thomasville YMCA. "I had very low self esteem. I came in and got involved and I'm the wild child."
Burns isn't the only one breaking a sweat. If you look around the Thomasville YMCA you'll see dozens of senior citizens dancing, swimming, and practicing yoga.
"I'm currently 70-years-old, retired and I've become a certified personal trainer and instructor for seniors," said Gary Swanson, who now teaches classes at the Y.
Brenda Godwin, also a YMCA member added, "I like the zumba classes, aerobics, the zumba gold, which is for 55 and older, and I love walking on the treadmill."
This isn't the the case for the state of Georgia as a whole, however. According to the United Health Rankings by the United Health Foundation, Georgia ranked 43rd in the nation for senior health.
The report found that more than 110,000 adults, 65 and older smoke and 350,000 seniors are physically inactive.
Results also showed a lack of community support, which health experts say is crucial to the mental health and well-being of seniors.
"We do brunches. We just got back from Apalachicola on a trip there. We took 47 senior adults on a cruise where our motto was, 'What happens on the cruise, stays on the cruise.' It's just a lot of fun," said Kim Smith, the Fitness and Wellness Director at the Y.
According to the report, Georgia's strength's were a low prevalence of chronic drinking and a high percentage of hospice care.
Florida ranked 30th on that same list.
To see the full report go to: http://www.americashealthrankings.org/Senior/GA