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Beacon Senior News

Jutta Solano: Crossroads’ fitness cheerleader

Sep 01, 2018 01:36AM ● By Melanie Wiseman

You’d be hard pressed to find a more enthusiastic fitness and healthy living cheerleader than 72-year-old Jutta Solano. This petite dynamo traded in a desk job for retirement, which she then swapped for a more active lifestyle, and eventually, a job as Crossroad Fitness’ SilverSneakers coordinator.

“Jutta has been an amazing inspiration and encourager for members of all ages,” said Crossroads Fitness General Manager Cameron Reece. “Even though she focuses on Crossroads’ senior members, she always creates a fun and positive atmosphere for members.”

Solano was hired three years ago to oversee the rapidly growing SilverSneakers program, a fitness program for adults 65 and older. With contagious energy, she motivates and encourages older members to keep moving and not to give up on their fitness goals.

Solano doesn’t go into a lot of detail when people ask about her transforming weight loss story because she said each person’s journey is different. But 10 years ago, she saw a photo of herself on her 25th wedding anniversary—70 pounds heavier—and knew it was time to make a change. Weight Watchers helped her lose the first 35 pounds, and then she added regular exercise into her lifestyle. She dropped the next 35 pounds by walking and hiking, and doing yoga and Pilates.

“I can hike 10 miles now,” she said. “I’m full of energy and can move so much easier.”

Serpents Trail is one of her favorite jaunts. She said yoga and Pilates add tone, flexibility and balance.

“Balance is so important as you age in order to remain independent,” she said. “I tell seniors I want them to stay independent as long as possible. I also tell them fitness and a healthy lifestyle are not a destination; [they’re] a way of life.”

Although Solano checks in with club members to help keep them accountable with their goals, she stressed that lifestyle changes start with self-motivation.

“If I don’t see a member for awhile, I give them a call or send a card to show we care and give them a nudge to come back on a regular basis,” she said.

SilverSneakers is a benefit of many Medicare health plans. Crossroads offers a variety of classes for seniors, including those where members can exercise while sitting in a chair. Water classes are a great place to start for those with joint issues.

Solano organizes several events each year that promote socialization, community and fitness, from hikes and guest speakers to holiday parties and a senior prom.

“It’s never too late to start,” she said. “In two weeks, you feel it; in four weeks, you see it; in six weeks, you hear it.”

To check your SilverSneakers eligibility, call Crossroads Fitness at 242-8746.