What about Fitness for Seniors?
Sports and Seniors Problem
For the majority gym is envisaged as a place where young and daring try their best, where music is loud and time is now. In other words, they are the last place for a senior. However, is it really so? Recently all the more sport centers have stared to offer senior sport programs and alternative workout programs tailor-maid specially for those who are 55 and older.
In the light of baby-boomer generation being on the rise and more of them going to retire in the nearest future, there is a need to re-structure the already existing approach to senior exercising.
On the one hand, the problem with the majority of sport centers in most places is that their programs are designed for individuals far below the retirement line, their target audience is young professionals, who are well and healthy for their age (for the most part). They do not mind clients of all ages, however, they do not take seniors into consideration in a way the latter could freely use the programs with regards to their health state and needs.
On the other hand, the senior centers’ problem is the focus on seniors as on one homogeneous group; while there are baby boomers, and silent generation representatives, and the older ones (over 90, those who still remember the beginning of the previous century). The thing is that these are all different groups with diverts requirements and needs, and abilities for that matter.
However, things are getting better. Not only sport centers are getting more interested in senior customers, the latter, in turn, are also becoming more engaged in the process. Though, the pace of the progress is not very fast, it is feasible enough, and it is also bilateral – which is a lot. Thus, here are some tips on how to look for (and find!) a good age-friendly fitness or a sport program that will suit your needs.
What to Look for in a Senior Friendly Gym
- First thing to look at is the kind and state of equipment. The place with one-size-fits-all stuff is, probably, not the best idea; instead, look for the place that offers equipment for older adults specifically.
- Next thing is the type of activity and programs. Senior-friendly yoga and cardio (and even zumba) are going to be a lot different from the same classes for, say, students and fitness nuts.
- Much depends on the instructor in question. The majority of seniors tend to choose the one of around the same age – or at least not a 25-year-old someone. And this is understandable enough. Besides, your trainer should have a certain share of knowledge and experience of working with your age group and be aware of many health conditions as well as other issues.
- Same age groups may be more attractive than diverse age ones – there you can find people who enjoy the same music and atmosphere and your training won’t be just about activity and necessity to move more.
How to Find a Senior Friendly Gym
Perhaps, you happen to live in a place where most seniors have local parks and recreation areas to content with; however, this is not a reason to give up. Perhaps, you just need to check the database crated by AARP and ICAA (the International Council on Active Aging) precisely for that matter. It helps finding the most appropriate and senior-friendly sport facility in the vicinity – both independent and as a part of other fitness centers – with the senior-designed programs and equipment. You may also consider the following options.
The List of Recommended Fitness Options for Seniors
- SilverSneakers program is one of the largest in the states for seniors over 65. Their classes can be accessed across the county in the majority of the largest fitness network gyms, the choice of exercise options is diverse and to each taste.
- Nifty after Fifty is next in the list. This is a program that was specifically developed for older adults with regards to health and body requirements of the relevant age. The classes are not just allow a variety of exercise but also a fair amount of socializing and fun. Can be found in four states at the moment (AZ, CA, NV, VA).
- Welcyon another discreet option for shy seniors who are willing to be active. The classes are designed for seniors above 55 and are carried out in a friendly environment, programs are specifically relevant to the clients’ needs. Can be found in most states.
- YMCA offers family and individual programs with a great number of classes for seniors. You are likely to find one near you if you check their location finder. Free of charge.
- Active Choices is a 6-month physical activity program for senior individuals who are willing to partake in some sort of physical activity in individually at home. It is personalized and all sessions except for the primary one are carried out on the phone. This option is highly beneficial for those seniors who for some reason have no access to public classes, or is unwilling/unable to attend them.
Why Bother at All?
Yet many might think that’s all the fuss is about? Being fit and looking good – all this has long ago become the privilege of the young and healthy (especially when you are 70+). Well, looking fresh may be. But being healthy is a must at all ages. And in this respect zero activity and poor exercising is fraught with bad consequences.
Among all the well-known benefits of exercising (among them stress relief, better mood and positive hiking and other virtues) there are the followings that one should remember (just in case):
- Whatever exercise you choose, it is good for your brain activity. All the better if you work out on a regular basis (some studies show that it lowers the risk of having dementia later in your life). Isn’t it good news?
- Ever wondered why “action is life”? Precisely because if you stay put for long, you are going to have all the problems in the world with joints, muscles, balance, flexibility and what not. You are also likely to to be in higher risk group for falls. Mind that.
- Stress relief has already been mentioned; however, that’s not the whole story. When you work out, your endorphins levels increase and you start feeling much, much better.
- Last but not the least – gym is a place of socializing. When you have retired and your kids live a couple of hours away, the feeling of loneliness is bound to creep in at some point or other. Here is when group exercises can do magic. You might not become friends with other people in class but you are bound to have fun! Just try it.
Although, it is up to you to decide whether to be active (and in what way for that matter), but one thing is for sure – it is better to be active than not to be. And the correlation between your health and wellness and the levels of your activity can easily be seen.
Thus, you can opt to any of the variants suggested earlier – the main thing is that you wouldn’t stop and enjoyed the process. And remember that there is no such a thing as “too late” – it’s always high time to be active.