When most people think of fitness or being physically fit, they imagine rock hard abs, bulging biceps or good glutes. That’s one of the reasons Jason Harris chooses to focus his training on seniors.
“In the fitness industry, we kind of leave out seniors out of it. We don’t really talk about them, but I think as their population continues to grow, it’s important that we do focus on keeping our wise elders healthy,” he said.
Harris describes himself as an “Earth Trainer.”
“As an earth trainer, I like to teach people yoga and strength training. With yoga, we can focus on our breathing and connect to the area, the planet [and] the environment around us. With my love of the planet and fitness. I wanted to merge the two. So I teach people how to be grounded mentally and physically to the earth and allow that strength to come up within them so they feel more balanced in their life,” Harris told PIX11 News.
Twice a week you’ll find Harris teaching seniors chair yoga at Flushing House. It’s an Independent Living Community located in Flushing, Queens. It is also the home to about 300 residents, in a 12-story community with a rooftop solarium boasting views of New York City.
The community takes pride in offering seniors activities that fit their eclectic interests. Harris believes strongly in helping seniors redefine what it means to be fit and in hopes of them living longer lives. He said it’s a passion project for him that started when he was caring for his grandfather.
“I love to work with seniors because it’s almost like I get to continue that legacy that I started with my grandfather. He’s no longer with me, but I’m able to give that passion and love to seniors by helping them move better [and] feel better even if it’s just in a chair,” Harris said.
Chair yoga student Thomas Whitney said Harris’ class is a lifeline for him.
“As you get older, you get closer to rigor mortis and rigor mortis is the ultimate stiffness,” he said. “Yoga loosens you and gives you much more flexibility.”
Whitney attends Harris’ classes religiously and said they help him stay physically fit and mentally astute.
“It clears you up a little bit you aren’t thinking about what I have to do, where I have to go. It gives you more stability,” said Whitney.