Exercise strengthens bodies and souls
Studies show that older adults with arthritis, heart disease or diabetes benefit greatly from regular exercise as do people with high blood pressure, balance problems or difficulty walking. But exercise isn’t just good for your body. A National Institutes of Health Senior Health report states that being regularly active can help manage stress, improve your mood, reduce feelings of depression, and improve or maintain some aspects of cognitive function.
Shirley Goddard doesn’t need a study to tell her that exercise is good for body and soul. She is a member of Silver Sneakers, a national program that helps seniors take control over their health. “After 12 rounds of chemo, coming to Silver Sneakers helped tremendously,” Goddard says. “It improves my mental outlook on life.”
Dina Pull, a member of the Southern YMCA in York County says, “Exercise keeps me limber and lifts my spirits.” According to the NIH, seniors who are physically active stay strong and fit enough to keep doing the things they like to do as they get older. Judy Shriver, who attends Silver Sneakers agrees, “I’m more flexible. I’ve had two back surgeries and couldn’t really walk well. I just wasn’t getting around, now look at me.”
Carolyn Cook, wellness coordinator for the Southern YMCA, says, “Our participants are getting stronger, increasing bone density, improving balance and coordination and range of movement. They are learning breathing and relaxation techniques. We have also seen the difference in post surgical recovery.” Bob Demmler, recovering from knee surgery says, “Carolyn helped me work out some exercises to do before my knee surgery, so I went in there prepared. Now it’s been four months out and I’m back to normal. Exercising before the surgery really helped.”
Exercise is important at every age, but as we grow older it becomes crucial for maintaining our health. And group exercise has other benefits as well. “A community and family develops,” Cook explains. “Everyone looks forward to seeing each other. They share life with each other.”
Cara Achterberg is a York County mother of three who strives to live life organically and blogs about it at www.kidfriendlyorganiclife.blogspot.com.