The following article was written by Angela Wilhelm and appeared in Citizen Times:
A cool autumn breeze didn’t keep Asheville seniors from working up a sweat at Crossfit Asheville Saturday.
Dawn Greene, head of the ForEverFit program for people over the age of 50, hosted the Fit to Fight Alzheimer’s challenge for two-person teams to get physical and raise money for the WNC Alzheimer’s Association.
“One of the biggest factors in morbidity as we age is falls,” said Greene on why she saw a need for the program, “the stronger you are, the less likely you are to fall.”
Ned Gibson, 92, and Elaine Fox, 83, the eldest man and woman in the challenge, partnered with their daughters, taking turns lifting weights and cheering each other on.
“Most people who end up in nursing homes aren’t able to take care of themselves because they aren’t strong enough,” explained Greene, “the stronger you stay over the course of your life, the less likely you are to need that kind of assistance and you’re more likely to live on your own safely.”
Gibson began visiting the gym twice a week with his daughter, McKenzie Koon, 58, after suffering a stroke two years ago. “This workout does me good,” said Gibson, “It was a question of that or dying.”
“He’s really surprised us,” said Koon, “He can get up off the floor on his own from doing burpees and his balance is better.” The side of his body left weakened by the stroke has also gotten stronger.
While strength training makes the body stronger, Greene says it has also been proven to aid in cognitive function.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 160,000 North Carolinians are currently suffering with Alzheimer’s. Greene, whose mother died of the disease, says three times that number are impacted, including some in the program.
The challenge raised $2,000 for the WNC Alzheimer’s Association.