1 in 3 Albertans over 65 will fall at least once a year. We all know that as we age our balance and strength weakens, but there are simple ways we can slow down the aging process. We all have a role to help keep seniors moving and keep them doing all their favourite activities.
“You don’t need to make a big commitment, you need to make a consistent commitment,” said Debra Bosker, group exercise coordinator, Don Wheaton Family YMCA “that consistency over time is how you’re going to achieve the benefits.”
Seniors exercises need to be focused on:
- Functionality: Exercises that help seniors perform basic everyday tasks like; lifting a bag off the ground, standing up, sitting down and picking a book of the shelf. Exercises that mimic daily tasks are the best at keeping seniors doing the things they love.
- Endurance: Plays a pivotal role in keeping seniors’ hearts strong. Exercises that consist of more repetitions, or exercising for longer can make it easier to walk up the stairs without getting out of breath, or carry groceries into the house.
- Keeps brains active: Seniors need to make complex decisions and negotiate difficult tasks for themselves to stay independent. Daily activity keeps the brain active and slows down the aging process.
- Strength: Resistance training helps build strong bones and muscles that help seniors keep their balance and prevent injuries caused by falls.
Exercises do not have to be complex, you’d be surprised with what can be found around the house. Soup cans become free weights, a chair becomes a squat assist and the stairs become a hill climb – there’s so much to keep the heart pumping. Plus, a countless variety of online workouts, DVD workouts and Sit and Be Fit shows on television. Although, working out at home is convenient, it’s also important for seniors to have opportunities to socialize and build a support system.
“Try out a group fitness class,” says, Bosker “It’s a great way to be social and make friends for seniors, and helps keep accountability.”
Sometimes getting in that physical activity can feel like a chore, but it does not have to be. It’s important to start small, build your way up and stay consistent. “Seniors need to remember… consistency …that’s where they’re going to see the most benefit of staying strong, staying healthy and being able to carry on with their lives.” Stated, Bosker.
Finding Balance is a province-wide seniors’ falls prevention campaign that runs for the month of November. It was developed by the Injury Prevention Centre in partnership with healthcare providers and community groups.
For more resources on seniors’ fitness visit www.findingbalancealberta.ca