Helpful thoughts on senior health and wellness from The Carrington at Lincolnwood – A Senior Living Community in Illinois.
Staying Active and Physically Fit as You Age
The beginning of a new year ushers in a time of renewal. And if you’re like most, the subject of New Year’s resolutions has been on your mind recently. Among the most popular resolutions—at the top of many lists—is to address health and weight control through eating better, exercising more, being more physically active, etc. These are common objectives for many older adults, as well.
Here we explore what the experts say about staying active and physically fit as you age. We’ll offer basic physical activity guidelines for seniors, as well as how The Carrington at Lincolnwood’s Fitness Specialist Arthur King and the Fitness Center staff help the community’s residents meet their personal objectives for staying healthy, active and independent.
But I thought in “retirement” I’d just sit back and relax!
Well, after a busy life full of work, family, commitments and more—this is true. It IS your time! But let’s keep it that way. Staying active through even a moderate amount of exercise can keep you healthy and well for years to come.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that staying active and physically fit can prevent or delay many health problems that seem to come with age. Physical activity helps your muscles grow stronger so you can keep doing your day-to-day activities and avoid becoming dependent on others. The CDC stresses that some physical activity is better than none at all.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), common senior health and wellness conditions that can be alleviated or helped by becoming more active and physically fit include: the risks of heart disease and stroke, type-2 diabetes, even some types of cancer. Increasing activity can also reduce pain, and improve your strength and balance, mood, symptoms of anxiety or depression, as well as your ability to think, learn and make decisions.
Consult your doctor first, says HHS, then set up a personal plan that includes:
- 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity that gets your heart beating – like brisk walking (When you play golf, get out of the cart and walk the fairways!), dancing, bike riding, swimming, etc.—even a little yard work, gardening, or washing and waxing your car.
- Muscle-strengthening activities at least 2 days per week using exercise bands or hand weights.
- Balance exercises like standing on one foot, walking backwards or sideways, or trying tai chi or yoga.
Many activities will help you get a mix of these three activity types. For instance, ballroom or salsa dancing, water aerobics like the many classes offered at The Carrington’s indoor pool, even the popular Chair Volleyball offered throughout the week at The Carrington.
The key to injecting more activity into your weekly routine is to find something you like and do it regularly.
What else does The Carrington offer to help me meet my senior wellness goals for activity and fitness?
Arthur is also a Personal Trainer who can help each and every resident meet their health and wellness goals and maintain a healthy lifestyle. He has been at The Carrington for almost four years and is a true advocate of the moderate-intensity aerobic activity mentioned above. “I believe that if seniors want to keep it ‘moving and grooving’ yet maintain their own personal routines, they should pursue a type of low-impact, functional exercise they enjoy at least twice per week,” Arthur says.
To get started, Arthur suggests enrolling in a structured class like those offered at The Carrington, and/or enlisting a personal trainer for extra guidance and motivation while working toward training on your own.
The Carrington’s state-of-the-art Fitness Center (see photos here) has a full menu of exercise classes and equipment specifically designed for seniors. A professionally trained fitness assistant is available for tutorials on use of all equipment. Classes address all three types of activity suggested by the experts above and are offered several times a week. These exercises for seniors include:
- Aqua Fitness & Aerobics—several classes for residents with various ability levels throughout the week in the community’s beautiful indoor pool.
- Stretch, Tone & Strength with Melanie—a career fitness instructor and actual resident teaches this popular session incorporating both standing and sitting exercises.
- Movement & Balance Classes that incorporate tai chi and dance.
- Zumba that combines cardio and Latin-inspired dance.
- Royal Wellness—Arthur’s popular class incorporates the Center’s equipment resources to prepare seniors for the movements of daily living (bending, twisting, lifting, loading, pushing, pulling, squatting and hauling).
- Twice a day, The Carrington’s Channel 1901 broadcasts exercise segments for seniors who want to maintain their activity and fitness goals in the privacy of their own residence.
I love to walk for exercise…but it’s winter!
The Carrington’s extensive pedestrian-friendly campus is perfect for seniors who like to get their exercise by walking. What does Arthur suggest for the winter months? “If residents are not in the mood for one of the group classes, I suggest walking on one of our treadmills or riding one of our many recumbent bikes for 10 to 15 minutes every other day during the week. Even walking the halls of The Carrington—the community is huge!”
See our Fitness Center for yourself.
As you can see, there’s so much to tell you about how The Carrington helps residents meet and maintain their activity and fitness goals. Contact us to schedule an appointment to see it all in action!