How a 95-year-old stays fit during the pandemic
Meet Ralph Youngren
A 95-year-old WW2 veteran who is as fit as a fiddle. How this WW2 veteran stays in shape with virtual personal training during the pandemic leaves everyone in awe.
Ralph has an interesting story. He was a world war 2 veteran, renowned architect, grandfather and husband. Ralph was part of a glider unit that would use gliders to get behind enemy lines. He served in Europe during WW2 in the 326th Glider Infantry Regiment and 13th Airborne Division. He flew over German lines a few times. Ralph was on a team that designed part of the Air Force Academy in Colorado. He was a partner in charge of design for the cadet area, including the chapel for the Air Force Academy. This work lasted for an intense 6 years of his life. A few years ago, Ralph fell badly in a parking lot because of a step he couldn’t see. He fractured his femur and this required a titanium plate. Ralph now lives with his wife in the Reston area. They both are completely independent which is amazing considering Ralphs age. After exhausting his P.T. through Kaiser Permanete, he felt the need to continue working on these issues since he was getting weaker and losing some balance. Ralph wanted to remain independent and fit when he heard that one of his friends was working with a trainer in her home. It’s Judy (my client) who told me about Ralph.
I’m David Nickum and I’ve been working with Ralph Youngren for well over a year now; we’ve made steady progress. When I first met Ralph, he had trouble walking and couldn’t get out of a chair without pushing up on the arms of the chair. Ralph’s right shoulder was a little tight and he had trouble lifting it above shoulder height. After a few months of working with Ralph he’s able to do 3 sets of ten squats with a chair, do shoulder presses and step ups on his stairs with ease. He now does squats unassisted and can stand up fully on each rep. We started Ralph’s training with some assisted squats, seated rows with a band, deadlifts with a 10 pound bar, TRX rows and step ups on his stairs. All of this was done with me right by his side in case he lost his balance and I had to catch him. Before the COVID- 19 pandemic, we would see each other once a week but when everything hit I was afraid to continue working with him. I started seeing many of my other clients online because it was the only option to keep them in shape during these challenging times.
I expressed the idea to Ralph’s wife Ann and we decided to give virtual training over Face-Time a try. I wouldn’t have felt comfortable doing this online without the foundation we’d already built from in-person training because it is always important to evaluate a Clients fitness level before engaging in any activity. It worked and we are able to maintain the same level of fitness that we have worked on over the past year. I still have Ralph doing squats with Ann watching over him. He has been able to do the squats with ease and we continued doing shoulder work with cans of beans instead of weights. I feel that virtual training has helped Ralph stay in shape during the pandemic and I look forward to seeing him every week. So far Ralph has made progress. He “likes the customized workouts” and his wife says “David is careful to exercise different parts of the body for each workout.” He has gained some balance, can do many squats, and his shoulder is becoming more limber. He looks forward to each class as he chats with his wife. Ann says “This relationship is key to encouraging Ralph to do his best.”
Just like Ralph, there are other veterans as well as senior Citizens who need to keep fit not only to stay physically strong but also to avoid lifestyle diseases. Despite the current pandemic, you can still achieve your goal at the comfort of your home.
Stay Safe, Stay Healthy and Stay Fit.