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Too old for exercise to make a difference? – not from what I see working with seniors

September 7, 2012

Today in the Hackettstown, NJ Senior Nutrition Center the women proved once again that exercise works. What I saw and heard today made me want to come back from class and write this short post of examples and comments.

1) As soon as I walked in 4 women all over 70 called out “we have been waiting for you! You know we only come for the exercise and not the lunch”

2) Out of the 24 who showed up for lunch, 19 took part in the exercises.

3) 6 came prepared with specific requests to learn exercises for either hands, leg strength or balance

4) 5 who have been coming say they are practicing their balance exercises at home

5) 1 says specifically that her legs have gotten stronger and that she feels safer walking  – she now stands during the whole class where before she sat through 1/2 of it.

6) Quite a number of the woman say the hand exercises have been helping with daily activities due to increased flexibility.

7) This one is important:  They enjoy exercising with exercises they are capable of doing!

8) From the youngest senior to the oldest (90 plus) they all do at a minimum a portion of the movements, choosing which they feel capable of participating in.

9) Adding in some education on the purpose of certain movements, examples of others and stories showing benefits, the seniors get engaged and inspired.

10) and last, by being provided with a program that is within their capabilities the participation level is way beyond what the center expected when it began a year ago.  Now, it did take time to grow in popularity but now, it is a well received class with a solid group of women (and a few men) taking part.

The bottom line is, from partially fit, to extremely unfit elder seniors, the exercise class is making a difference in their lives. Perhaps if you know a senior, have a parent or friend who feel it is not worth the time or effort you may want to pass this post along.

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