Staff photo by Skip Lawrence
3/8/10  w/Sue Gyynn 
Foreground is Joyce Wendt, 80.
Fitness instructor Darlene Overholtzer leads this seniors exercise program sponsored by the Frederick County Senior Recreation Council at the William Talley Recreation Center on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. It is often attended by up 90 people. Other programs sponsored by Frederick City are also held at the William Talley Recreation Center.

The benefits of exercise for seniors far outweigh the possibilities of injury. Only a few minutes of exercise each day can add years to your life and increase your energy level exponentially. For optimal health benefits, your exercise regimen should include cardio, strength, balance and flexibility exercises. For most of us finding the time or energy for exercise can be a problem, taking a short walk can be a great beginning for that optimal fitness program.

 

Cardio for a healthy heart

 

A daily walk takes little time or effort and can show great results in your health. Although finding time to exercise is daunting, just parking farther from your workplace or shopping or taking the stairs instead of the elevator will help keep you healthy. Doctors have found that a daily walk can lower blood pressure, strengthen the heart, help control diabetes, relieve joint pain as well as countless other benefits. Walking is a low-impact exercise that is easy on your joints and will strengthen your muscles and bones. Other low impact exercises are yoga, tai chi, cycling, and swimming.

 

Flexibility

 

As you grow older, muscles and ligaments lose their flexibility sometimes making it difficult to bend and tie your shoes. There are many exercises that will stretch your muscles, helping them to remain flexible and eliminate the stiffness. When you begin these stretches do not overextend to the point of feeling pain, at that point you may be damaging your muscles or tendons. Yoga and Tai Chi both are excellent to maintain flexibility for Seniors.

 

Keeping your balance

 

Good balance is essential in maintaining good health. One of the leading reasons seniors lose mobility is through lack of balance. Poor balance causes falls and other accidents that can result in hospital care or interment in a nursing home. There are many exercises geared to strengthening the muscles that help maintain balance. Simply balancing on one leg and holding the stance for a count of 10 then doing the same on the other side repeating 5 to 10 times is sufficient to maintain a sense of balance.

 

Strength training for healthy bones

 

Osteoporosis is a leading issue, especially with women who have gone through menopause. Strength training has been shown to slow the progress of this disease that causes brittle bones preventing fractures. Weight bearing exercise increases bone density and strengthens the muscles that support bones. Just a few minutes a day of weight exercise for seniors can prevent injury for a full and fun life.

 

Exercise is key to living life to its fullest. A few minutes of exercise each day can make the difference between having health issues or doing the things that you enjoy.

 

Greater Health for Seniors Through Exercise

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