By Holly Glen Gearhart, Contributing Writer
New Year resolutions are fraught with plans for improving health, wealth and general well-being. In 2014 consider going a step further and actually accomplishing those New Year’s resolutions.
Fitness is important at any age, but over the age of 55 getting or staying fit is essential to good health. According to the medical community becoming more sedentary as we age is a sure route to sickness or early death.
But beyond improving your physical health or increasing your lifespan, regular exercise greatly improves your overall sense of well-being and is gaining ground in medical circles as a practical addition for patients with chronic ailments. According to the APA (American Psychological Association) there is clinical evidence of the positive effect physical activity has on chronic pain and is becoming a modality in traditional medical treatments,.
“But the effects of physical activity extend beyond the short-term. Research shows that exercise can also help alleviate long-term depression… There’s good epidemiological data to suggest that active people are less depressed than inactive people,” says James Blumenthal, PhD, a clinical psychologist at Duke University.
Hours of intense exercise isn’t necessarily needed to improve your enjoyment of life. Doing things that you naturally enjoy and incorporating some movement—regularly getting up from the chair or out from behind your desk—can help you effectively.
A simple walk around the block, a short steady ride on your bike or stretching your legs and arms before you get out of bed releases hormones that give you a good feeling. Improving your mood which leads to better self-esteem and can lead to a greater sense of self. Soon you could find yourself at a fitness class.
Breaking isolation is a major problem with aging, and getting out among other people while volunteering at the food bank, attending an AOA (Active Older Adult) class, or having lunch with other people 55+ can help to improve your mood. Find others who share your wish get up and out; go on a picnic, toss around a ball, or grab a fly rod and spend some time out in nature – yes, fishing can add years to your life.
It’s about movement
Your heart rate needs to get above its resting rate, and you can do this with low impact exercise like walking the dog or parking your car a little further from the door. Even laughter can improve your health. A few simple changes can help to treat insomnia, pain and excessive fatigue.
It begins with one step:
Stretching five minutes a day or spending a few minutes doing low-impact aerobic exercises designed for seniors is easy in Monroe because there are a number of businesses in the area that can start you on your fitness journey.
The East County Senior Center has ongoing yoga and fitness classes designed specifically for the 50+ crowd. The Monroe YMCA has weekly fitness classes for seniors from chair yoga to more intense aerobic workouts. The specially-designed AOA program takes place in the pool; water provides buoyancy for people with balance, strength or arthritic conditions. If you have physical limitations, pool classes are a great starting point to gain strength.
Monroe hosts a number of other fitness programs designed to get seniors off the couch and on their path to better health; check your local listings at the Monroe Library or search for fitness centers in Monroe, WA for more information.
What better way to make sure you keep exercising than to teach a fitness class to your peers—and be paid for it. Reportedly there are 76 million Baby Boomers in this country; think of the employment opportunities that presents. Think of adding some income to your retirement or Social Security by teaching fitness to people your own age.
There is a demand for fitness instructors; to become one you will need, at a minimum, certification as a fitness instructor and a market for your services.
Visit these web pages to learn more about becoming a fitness instructor and how to market your services;
How to become a Silver Sneaker Instructor: http://tinyurl.com/mhv78wv
Senior Fitness Certification: http://tinyurl.com/ken98mk
Employment Opportunities in Senior Living: http://tinyurl.com/mucc9r4
Increase Revenue by Offering Fitness Programming for Baby Boomers: http://tinyurl.com/khpmkvd