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How Doanne Kiechel Stays Fit & Active at 88

May 20, 0216 | Health & Wellness, Resident Stories | 0 comments

At 88 years old, Doanne Kiechel is no stranger to physical fitness. A Naval Academy alum, retired naval officer, and Korean War vet, Kiechel has been testing his physical fitness boundaries for decades. Now a resident of Grand Oaks, that flair for fitness continues.

When Kiechel first moved to Grand Oaks, he underwent extensive therapy for chronic leg problems. Now, he participates in Grand Oaks’ exercise program nearly every day to stay active and healthy.

At Grand Oaks, Kiechel is surrounded by daily, weekly, and monthly senior fitness activities like tai chi, aquatics, walking club, motion exercises, and ballroom dancing, plus health lectures, stress management and relaxation classes, and more.

As we celebrate National Senior Health & Fitness Day on May 25, seniors like Kiechel are inspiring others to focus on their health and fitness as they age. Did you know that older adults need 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week*?

The risk of chronic disease increases with age, but practicing healthier behaviors, including aerobics and muscle strengthening, is the key to reducing that risk.

senior fitness class at Grand Oaks

“So many of us older people have leg problems,” Kiechel says. “I never realized that would be one of the things you miss the most in your older life—being able to get around easily.”

He recalls a touching moment before his dear wife passed away when a fellow veteran helped him walk across an icy parking lot to his doctor’s office. “He was having a little trouble walking, too,” he says. Kiechel thanked the kind gentleman and asked if he was having trouble walking as well.

The man lifted his pants leg and showed Kiechel two wooden legs. “I thought, ‘Here’s something. This guy could have easily fallen and he went out of his way to help me.’ He said, ‘Why not? You’re an old soldier yourself.’”

At Grand Oaks, most residents are incapable of getting on the floor to exercise or have physical disabilities like the man Kiechel encountered, so programs are adapted to meet each resident’s needs. For example, routines are modified so residents can do all exercises while seated in chairs.

“It keeps us somewhat younger,” Kiechel says. “Not terribly young, but it makes life nicer for us.”

Since the time of this publication, Mr. Kiechel has passed away. The Grand Oaks family sends our thoughts and well wishes to the Kiechel family. It was an honor and privilege to know Mr. Kiechel, and we miss him every day.

*Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s The State of Aging & Health in America report

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