Exercise helps improve physical, mental, and emotional health of older adults; however, knowing the benefits of exercise doesn't make it easier to push through everyday aches and pains to exercise. Thats exactly how Robert, a Kendal at Home member, felt about exercise until he found the Silver Sneakers program. Robert talks about his experiences with the program here.
Some people enjoy exercising; they find it exhilarating and it gives them a high. I'm not one of them, but I know I have to exercise to keep in good health.
I've learned that the only way for me to get regular exercise is to take a class, forcing me into a schedule. When I checked with the staff at Kendal at Oberlin, they recommended Silver Sneakers, a fitness program for seniors.
Upon trying it, I was somewhat taken aback to find the exercises were done sitting in chairs. Still, I decided to give it a try. To my surprise, the class did give me a good workout. The classes have evolved with time, and most people now stand. The system accommodates a wide range of people, from persons in their 50s to those in their 80s, in good health and not so good. (A few even come on walkers.)
Silver Sneakers is a franchised program developed by Healthways, Inc., which trains and certifies all the instructors. Many civic centers, YMCAs, and other fitness facilities offer classes. The tuition is modest, running $1-$3, and many health plans, including Medicare, cover it.
Silver Sneakers offers a variety of programs, including MSROM (Muscular Strength & Range of Movement), Yoga Stretch, Cardio Circuit, Silver Splash (water aerobics), and Zumba (dance fitness), but not every facility offers all programs. The website www.silversneakers.com answers questions and provides a locator for facilities by zip code.
I mostly take the MSROM classes, but occasionally take yoga and cardio. It pays to shop around because classes vary by instructor. In general, most MSROM classes start with a warm-up period, followed by a variety of strengthening exercises and ending with stretching and relaxation.
I've found it to be a useful program, well suited to my advancing years.
Roberts story originally published in the Spring 2013 issue of LeChat, the Kendal at Home member publication. For even more ideas for getting active, download Remaining Active: How to Begin a Regular Exercise Routine today!
photo credit: Robert