I have been experiencing some very personal revelations regarding exercise for people over 60, and have met some amazing seniors doing great things in creating quality of life. And friends, whether or not exercise adds a single day to your life is almost irrelevant. It’s not about longevity, it’s about quality. And even though I started by mentioning people over 60, 40- and 50-year-olds should pay attention, too.

In the past 12 weeks I have shed another 20 lbs., raising my total to a 45 lb. weight loss. I have not starved myself, and I have not suffered. I feel incredibly younger, stronger and with more mental clarity and work productivity. I have more energy for my family and friends, and I can keep a better pace with the grandkids. My blood sugar and blood pressure have totally normalized. I am sleeping better, and feel happier on a day-to-day basis. These benefits are called NSVs, or Non-Scale Values, which is just another way of saying quality of life.

OK, so that’s me. Maybe I’m special. But really, I am not. Average individuals are discovering functional capacity that they never thought they would achieve. One 88-year-old friend started doing one simple exercise … coming to a standing position from a chair using just her legs. She walks with a walker for stability, but now has the strength to rise up and down from the chair 10 times. When she started, she could barely do one.

There are many ways to improve your health. I have recently met people in an online group in their 40s who have lost more than 100 lbs., even more than 200 lbs. through diet and weight training without bariatric surgery.

There is overwhelming evidence that diet and exercise are the two most powerfully beneficial drugs that you can take. There is also powerful evidence that weight training for seniors is beneficial at every age.

As a senior, you are not just trying to get in shape. You are seeking to change your life habits, to do so enjoyably, to incorporate good nutritional advice in an exercise program that’s right for you, and most importantly, to do so without injuring yourself. These things are best accomplished in a supportive environment. I know that I needed that support to get me going. In the beginning, my goal was simple … I was well on my way to becoming a Type 2 diabetic, and having watched both my mother and father have their lives very limited by diabetes, I finally reached the point where I said “Enough! I am not doing that!”

Now I have no concern at all about diabetes, and have discovered a huge list of positive non-scale quality of life values that keep me happy and motivated every day, and I am in a group of more than 100 other people who are all doing the same.

Here are some local resources to help you get started. If you email me, I will send you a list of valuable online sources for education and support.

Central Lincoln County YMCA Damariscotta, 563-3477
Boothbay Region YMCA, 633-2855
Bath Area Family YMCA, 443-4112
Landing YMCA, Brunswick, 844-2801
Casco Bay YMCA, Freeport, 865-9600
Woman’s Fitness Center Brunswick, 729-5544
Body Symmetry Pilates Studio Brunswick, 729-1122
Orange Circuit Fitness Brunswick, 725-2944
Ocean Blue Fitness Damariscotta,563-2668

Steve Raymond is director of community outreach at the Lincoln Home in Newcastle, and the producer and host of the television show “Spotlight on Seniors.” Jill Wallace is the owner and director of Elm Street Assisted Living in Topsham.