Read an excerpt taken from our magazine Urban Aging News
More and more, seniors are recognizing that regular exercise provides health benefits and this activity level therefore extends independence. Benefits include building stamina to avoid falls, improvement of blood pressure and blood sugar levels, a boost in bone and joint health, and preservation of brain power. And an added benefit is that much of this exercise benefit can be achieved at low or no cost.
The National Council on Aging reports that "Evidence-based programs (EBPs) offer proven ways to promote health and prevent disease among older adults," because those specifically designed for seniors provide the needed level of guidance and instruction. These exercise programs also allow instructors to modify exercises - even changing from standing to sitting – all to match the students’ ability level.
This is a list of evidence-based programs that are available for older adults:
Enhance Fitness is a highly adaptable exercise program offering levels that are challenging enough for active older adults and levels that are safe enough for the unfit or near frail. One-hour group classes include stretching, flexibility, balance, low-impact aerobics, and strength training.
Walk With Ease, offered through Arthritis Foundation Michigan, can reduce pain and improve overall health. The program promises to reduce pain while improving flexibility, strength and stamina. If you can stand for 10 minutes without pain, you can havesuccess.
Matter of Balance targets those who restrict activities because of concerns about falling. Participants learn to view falls as controllable by increasing physical activity and making the necessary changes to reduce fall risks.
Tai Chi for Arthritis offers slow, gentle movements that help to increase muscular
strength, flexibility and stamina. It has been proven to reduce arthritic pain and stress while improving balance and overall fitness. It has been shown to be one of the most effective exercises for preventing falls.
And remember, it is always advisable to discuss new exercise routines with a physician before beginning.