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Living Without Limits: 82-Year-Old Achieves Peak Fitness at His Acts Community

At his Boca Raton, Florida retirement community, Frank Roca, of St. Andrews Estates, can be spotted at the fitness center on campus four times a week, pumping a 105-pound weighted bar over his head with ease.

Since moving to St. Andrews Estates seven years ago, Frank said the active lifestyle, and access to nutritious meals, has helped him to focus on his health and add quality years to his life.

“This move has already, I think, extended my life by four or five years,” he said. 

Frank and his wife moved from their home of 18 years to an Acts community in March 2018. Reflecting on this decision, Frank said his only regret was “not having done it sooner.”

Before relocating, Frank admitted he didn't prioritize his health as much as he should have. "I didn’t watch my diet," he confessed. "I’m not the type of guy who would get in his car and drive ten miles to the gym to work out."

However, within the community, fitness became readily accessible. With a gym just a short walk away, Frank found himself more physically active than ever before. His dedication to exercise, coupled with a healthier diet, led to remarkable results.

"I lost 5% of body fat since I moved to St. Andrews Estates," he said proudly. “When I moved in, I weighed 196 lbs., and my resting heart rate was 81. Now I’m down to 182 lbs. and my resting heart rate is 67.”

Beyond the physical benefits, the sense of belonging and purpose has been equally transformative, along with being more socially active to improve his quality of life.

“All the people and friends we’ve made here, it’s amazing," he said. "It’s like family. And it didn’t take long to get to know people. We have made more friends here than in the 31 years while we were married."

He’s also never felt alone on his fitness journey. His biggest supporter, Oris Martin, the Fitness Director at St. Andrews Estates, has guided him every step of the way, offering support and encouragement. She says Frank's story exemplifies the importance of challenging oneself, regardless of age.

"The mentality is, we tell ourselves 'I’m too old to do certain things,' and we don’t challenge ourselves anymore,” Oris said.

Just getting started? Check out these 16 exercise tips from a senior fitness expert!

Residents don’t have to lift heavy weights to get fit, Oris highlights the benefits of even simple activities like brisk walking. "Even walking on the grounds by the lakes, it’s great exercise if you push yourself a bit and walk briskly instead of strolling," she said.

Frank wholeheartedly embraces this philosophy, setting ambitious fitness goals for himself.

"I walk everywhere here," he said. "Trying to get 9,000 steps a day on my FitBit."

He also incorporates interval training on the treadmill to boost his aerobic capacity. The results speak volumes: Frank has shed weight and improved his resting heart rate, indicative of a healthier lifestyle.

It’s not just the numbers on a scale or a heart rate monitor. "Since focusing on my fitness goals, I sleep much better, and I’m in a better mood in the mornings," he shared. "I never wake up feeling depressed. When I wake up, I have a purpose."

This newfound sense of purpose fuels his determination to live life to the fullest, free from the constraints of age-related limitations.

There are full-time fitness trainers available at all Acts communities to help residents make positive lifestyle choices and safely excel with their fitness goals. Recognizing Frank's challenges with balance due to his past hip surgeries, Oris provided tailored support to prevent injury and maximize effectiveness.

"The human body is your most wonderful possession," Frank said. "You may be driving the best car in the world or traveling to the best places, but if you don’t feel well, none of that matters."

Living at an Acts community with access to many amenities in wellness, residents like Frank discover not only a renewed sense of health but also profound purpose in their later years.

“You got to believe in yourself and challenge yourself,” Frank said.

Find out how you can pursue activities that bring joy and fulfillment, regardless of age.