Every May, we celebrate National Senior Fitness Week, to encourage older adults to stay active and maintain or improve their quality of life. Researchers have been able to prove these effects, too.
A New Zealand study cited by the Centers for Disease Control found that women 80 and older who did strength and balance training had 40 percent fewer falls. Strength training has also been found to increase bone density and lower the risk of fracture in women older than 50. Exercise also has positive effects on depression that are similar to results with anti-depressant medication.
We asked members of our community to tell us how and why they make fitness a priority. One of our readers, Barbara Rosener, submitted her story for us to share.
I am almost 80 years old and have always been active and blessed with lots of energy. Early in 2015 I had my hip replaced. After that I had to be careful for several months, and it seemed like my exercising days were over.
One day I decided I needed to join an exercise class geared to the elderly with arthritis. I called Jessica McKnight from the St. Francois County Health Center and asked if it would be possible to get a class like that started. She was very enthusiastic and started working on it right away. She wanted to do something for senior adults. The First Baptist Church in Desloge graciously let us use their aerobic room free of charge. The first of April 2016 the classes began.
I can’t tell you how much fun this has been for all of us. We play “old music” while we exercise. The camaraderie is great. We average 18 each class. My husband goes, and he had never taken an exercise class in his life. We celebrated the one-year anniversary of the class in April 2017.
Who would ever think some in their late 80s could and would exercise and have fun doing it?
If you feel inspired to follow Barbara’s example, we have many fitness opportunities at Farmington Presbyterian Manor. Activity Director Carol Winch said exercise classes are offered four times a week for assisted living residents, along with a weekly yoga class. In health care and memory care, there are exercise classes five times a week, with activities such as ball toss, Balloon Bump (with foam pool noodles) and range of motion with chairs.
Remember, if you haven’t been active in a while, visit with your doctor before starting an exercise program.