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Brandon Temple, Operator and Co-Owner of HDF and 760 Fitness, instructs Raymond Kelso how to protect his skull and wrists from serious injuries through various stages of a fall in hopes of preventing serious injuries. / Laura Austin Photos

High Desert Fitness offers Fall Prevention workshops for seniors

By LAURA QUEZADA News Review Staff Writer– High Desert Fitness (HDF) at 901 North Heritage Drive will be the location for several workshops designed to prevent senior citizens from having serious injuries. Workshops are on Saturdays, September 2, 9, l6, and 23. The first workshop is a $10 demonstration morning designed to inform folks which workshop would be best for them. The following workshops are $30 each or $75 for all of them. The workshops will have three separate time slots depending on an individual’s fall risk and current fitness level: Group A (low risk) is 8-9:30; Group B (moderate risk) is 10-11:30; Group C (high risk/use of cane/walker) is 12-1:30.

HDFC purchased a special “crash pad” for the workshops. “It’s 12 inches thick and super, super soft,” says Brandon Temple, Operator and Co-Owner of HDF and 760 Fitness (760). “A lot of the crash pads are just too firm. This one is a very soft cushion that absorbs the majority of the impact of the fall. I think they’ll have fun falling backward on this super soft mattress.”

Temple tells us the staff members offered these pre-COVID workshops through Ridgecrest Regional Hospital (RRH).  “One of our yoga instructors, Steve Garcia, wanted to reignite this.” The timing wasn’t right for RRH. HDF staff discussed it and decided, “We wanted to do something like that because we have such a wide demographic within the senior community between our two facilities.

“The idea is to prevent serious injuries and, God forbid, fatalities from falling,” Temple continues. “We have some seniors here who have fallen. We want to teach them how to protect their skull primarily, how to protect their wrists, how to avoid items in the home that would create a fall, and then, how to get up after a fall.”

Raymond Kelso has been a member of HDF for about six months. Temple used him for a brief demonstration of one technique. Temple says, “So what we’re going to be doing with individuals is taking them through various stages of the fall. Raymond started from a seated position and rocked back while holding onto his head. The thought is when you’re falling backward, you initially want to protect yourself by bracing yourself; that often leads to broken wrists or a head injury. We will try to develop muscle memory with the seniors and have them start grabbing onto the back of their head, curling in, and then taking the brunt of the impact on the glutes and lower lumbar rather than their head or wrists.” Kelso says, “High Desert Fitness is excellent for us senior citizens and fun.”

The two fitness centers embrace the needs of seniors, not exclusively, of course.

“We really try to touch on each community. We have fortunately been able to serve the senior community to such a high degree here. We are contracted out through the hospital to do Silver Sneakers programs for free. And at 760, we have the Active Aging classes as well as the Active  Aging Circuit. You know, something designed specifically for the seniors of this community.

“We continually try to innovate our current items for our senior community here at HDF in the morning, especially. We are returning to Tai Chi with James Walters from China Lake Martial Arts. He just underwent knee surgery, but he’ll be coming back to offer Senior Tai Chi and that’s great for balance coordination, single-leg strength, and breathing. Then we have our Super Senior classes: cardiovascular and resistance for seniors. We have a Building Balance class with a wonderful young man named Steven Kleeger. He’s been a parkour/gymnastics expert for quite some time. We’ve seen incredible results from people from day one to month six. So that’s our primary focus here.

“At 760, we also have that focus. We have an indoor walking track. We realize that one of the most popular forms of exercise for seniors is just basic cardiovascular exercise, just doing walks. Still, in the summer, it gets way too hot for our seniors to do their walking. So they can come over to the air-conditioned 70-degree gym and walk our track. We have a sign that tells you how many times you need to walk the track before you hit a mile.

“Seniors are always in mind; they’re the pillar of our community. They were here far before us. One of the major goals is always making sure that we’re keeping them healthy and active.”

Fees are kept reasonable with a senior discount at both facilities. “760 has two different memberships:  the 12-month contract, which is $29 per month, and $34 a month for the non-committed (monthly) option. There are various insurances that we work with; you just have to ask the front desk if your insurance is on the list.”

HDF also offers a senior discount with rates depending on what an individual wants to do, whether personal training or a small group class.