Friday, April 27, 2012

Population Trends Make History by Cammy Dennis

Recent statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau (USCB) and the United Nations Population Division (UNPD) demonstrate that never before in history has our global population contained so many older adults. The latest U.S. census shows that the number of older adults is increasing faster than younger populations. And according to the UNPD, one in five people are expected to be 65 years or older by the year 2035! This population shift is primarily due to a drop in birth rates and an increase in life expectancy.

As we contemplate these historical population shifts, it is also important to think about society's perceptions on aging. As our demographics change, so should our perceptions bearing in mind that chronological age (how old we are) does not correlate with biological age (our state of health). We should be cautious not to judge ourselves or others based on chronological age.

With that in mind, never before has there been a better time to embrace aging "actively." We have more years in our lives so now we need to ensure that we have more "life" in those years. The physical science is very clear; aging actively has a profound influence on function, independence and quality of life.

Age alone does not define someone or dictate their capabilities. I have a very fond memory that vividly demonstrates this point. Two years ago when I was 47, I was fighting to finish the third leg of a sprint triathlon, which was a 5K run (3.2 miles). The run comes after swimming a 1/4 mile and cycling 12 miles. I was coming up on a woman who was ahead of me and it took all I had to pass her. As I passed her, I noticed her age which in a triathlon, your age is marked on the back of your lower leg with a permanent marker. She was 68. She swam and cycled faster than I did! It was a moment of inspiration that I will never forget...and I think of her often even to this day.

Our society places such a high value on youth and physical beauty that it seems to automatically attach a negative stereotype to aging. The assumption becomes if young is good, then old must be bad.

In my capacity as Fitness Director of On Top of the World Communities, I am convinced and continually inspired by the residents of this community. Everyday I bear witness to an average of over 200 people who flock to the fitness center and fitness classes. The community also boasts walkers, runners, cyclers, tennis players, golfers and the list goes on and on.

I am especially impressed with the commitment On Top of the World residents have to overall wellness with their participation in lifelong learning at Master the Possibilities Education Center, social activities and dedication to clubs and volunteerism. This community is indeed a community that embraces the many dimensions of wellness, supporting and reshaping a healthy perspective on aging.

Cammy Dennis the the Fitness Director for On Top of the World Communities and The Ranch Fitness Center & Spa.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Ocala Area Culture & Events

When you think of Ocala, Florida do you think of horse country and beautiful rivers and springs? If so, you are right! But Ocala and Marion County also has many opportunities to have fun, see exceptional entertainment and enjoy cultural experiences. In fact, there are so many opportunities that you will find yourself having to choose between several appealing events when making your weekend plans.

Museums in the Ocala area feature art from local artists, unique collections, traveling exhibits from national museums, guest speakers and more. These museums include The Appleton Museum of Art, The Webber Center at Central Florida Community College, Brick City Center for the Arts, Bank of America Gallery, and Gallery East. In addition to these standing art exhibits which you can visit year-round, the local community also organizes art shows throughout the year, showcasing art from local residents and guest artists.

The residents of Ocala have a wide range of interests and this is evident in the variety of events offered during any given month. Looking at the months of April and May, over 25 events could be found on the calendar. These events include:

  • the Orange Blossom Opry country music showcase
  • a cruise to the Great Blue Heron Rookery
  • the HITS Mid-Florida Hunter/Jumper Horse Show
  • the Florida Australian Shepherd Dog Show
  • the Palomino Horse Show
  • a world-class tennis event and rockin’ blues concert
  • the Saturday in the Park health and wellness event
  • a hurricane and storm readiness expo
  • the MONSTER JAM monster truck touring circuit
  • a Rocky Horror Picture Show Shadow Cast
  • the March of Dimes Walk for Babies
  • Ocala’s Crawfish Fest of 2012
  • The Earthfest & Arbor Day in the Great Outdoors Event

Concerts and Theater
Musical tastes vary, so music of all genres is available in Ocala. From country to classical, pop to spiritual, there is sure to be a concert event you will enjoy seeing. Oldies but goodies – those songs you grooved to in the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s - can be heard at Circle Square Cultural Center at On Top of the World. Recently performing was Willie Nelson who performed his hits "On The Road Again" and "Always On My Mind" to name a few. Silver Springs attraction hosts a concert season each year in an outdoor setting that seats up to 12,000 guests. Admission to the concerts also allows patrons use of the nature park, as an added bonus. The Ocala Symphony Orchestra performs regularly bringing the sound of classical music to the area. An annual Symphony event that draws a crowd is their performance of an outdoor holiday concert under the stars on the square in downtown Ocala.

You won’t have to look far if you enjoy theatrical performances. Ocalans appreciate a good drama…or comedy, musical, murder mystery or ballet. The Circle Square Cultural Center recently hosted the Ocala Symphony Orchestra and the University of Florida Opera Theatre in a performance of Die Fledermaus. The Ocala Civic Theatre presents a full season of shows all performed by volunteer thespians, including the upcoming performance of “Fiddler on the Roof.” The College of Central Florida’s theatre recently presented the Shakespearean play “The Tempest.” These are just snapshot of just a few of the things happening in Ocala…you can see there is so much going on throughout the year.

Ocala is always offering new and exciting activities and bringing back annual events that the community has grown to love. And, being centrally located between Orlando, Tampa and Gainesville, Ocalans only have to travel a short distance for other great performances such as: Van Halen, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, and Chicago, just to name a few.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Spa Week at The Ranch Fitness Center & Spa by Jeffry McQuillen

Have you wanted to check out your local spa? Are you new to the Ocala area and have been trying to find a full service spa? If you answered yes to either of those questions, you should come to The Ranch Fitness Center & Spa. The Ranch features an exclusive selection of specialized massages, facials, body wraps, and hair and nail services. Adjacent to the new Circle Square Commons Town Center, The Ranch also features private men and women's saunas, steam rooms, locker rooms and personal amenities – so that you feel truly pampered in a lavish retreat.

During Spa Week on April 16 – 22, The Ranch Fitness Center & Spa is offering a manicure/pedicure combo, a facial, and a 50 minute Swedish massage at $25 off each . Spa Week is a national event that promotes a wellness lifestyle by making spa services affordable for everyone...yes, everyone! During Spa Week and with every spa appointment year round, you will get full use of The Ranch’s state-of-the-art fitness facility which includes the pool, steam and sauna rooms, group fitness classes and more.

The Ranch Fitness Center & Spa will show you how important pampering and relaxation is to living a healthy lifestyle. Spa Week is a special time to move you in the right direction!

Jeffry McQuillen is the Spa Manager at The Ranch Fitness Center & Spa

Monday, April 9, 2012

Spring = Fertilizing, Waterting & Fungus Prevention by Phillip Hisey

March was a good time to fertilize your lawn and shrubs. If you did not do so, April is just as good a time as any to get started. Remember, following the Marion County Ordinance, you cannot apply more than one pound of slow-release nitrogen per 1,000 square feet, and no more than 0.7 pounds of nitrogen if using a water-soluble or fast-release nitrogen source. Most fertilizers you find at Lowe's or Home Depot will be a slow release source. If you're following the On Top of the World Home Maintenance calendar on, the recommended is the 12-2-14 available at Lesco/John Deer in Ocala. This locally owned store carries an assortment of fertilizers to suit your needs.

Hopefully, April will produce some rain showers to help reduce the need of irrigation. The start of Daylight Savings now allows On Top of the World homeowners to irrigate twice per week. You can find out what time you need to have your irrigation controller set to start by going to The website indicates the times to start your irrigation based on the last number in your house address. On Top of the World will be holding an irrigation controller class at Master the Possibilities Education Center on June 12th if you are still not able to figure things out.

Insects and fungus will become more prevalent in April. The mild winter may lend to higher insect populations and fungal growth in the spring months. Be on the lookout for stressed grass or plants that appear to be struggling. Brown Patch Fungus will show up in lawns as a "yellowish halo" with a dead or weak interior. Grass that does not respond to fertilizer treatments resulting in yellow spots in your lawn may be Take All Root Rot. Both of these need to be identified and treated immediately to minimize further damage.

Phillip Hisey is the Landscape Superintendent for On Top of the World Communities.