Staying Fit With Age
Exercise is one of the best activities you can participate in at any age. It helps to regulate your weight and keeps your body healthy. It can help you relieve stress, and even lead to better sleep at night. It’s good measure to incorporate regular exercise into your daily routine, and even better if you can exercise in a group setting, especially during the winter months.
“During the colder months we have less sunshine, shorter days, and a less inviting outdoor environment. This is a recipe for isolation and inactivity,” says Andrew Seibert, the Fitness and Wellness Coordinator at The Hill at Whitemarsh. “The best way to combat this and stay in shape during the winter is to have an exercise buddy. Someone who will encourage you and make sure you don’t become inactive.”
The Hill has over 20 instructor-lead group exercise classes, as well as resident driven exercise opportunities and a Fitness Center that is accessible 24 hours a day. The entire fitness program at The Hill, including the group classes, is designed to keep participants feeling young, both in body and mind.
“All of our classes incorporate multi-joint movements across all movement planes that would improve coordination and balance,” says Andrew. “Our classes are inclusive of all abilities, encourage our residents to open up and be social, and, most importantly, are fun!”
At The Hill, residents have the opportunity to participate in great group fitness classes year round, but these are some of the best to try during these colder winter months:
Tai Chi is perhaps one of the best exercises you can do to promote balance. The Chinese form of martial arts involve moving the body through space in slow, controlled and low-impact movements, which are ideal for older adults, regardless of their mobility or range of motion. Tai Chi can help seniors feel steadier on their feet and improve hand-eye coordination. It can also build muscle strength, increase flexibility and serve as gentle aerobic exercise.
Yoga is a gentle and integrative form of exercise, encouraging the body, mind and spirit to remain healthy and strong. Yoga can also help to reduce the effects of age-related issues, keeping the body flexible by strengthening muscles and joints, and the mind alert through measured breathing and focusing on the present moment. “Yoga makes us feel good, all-around,” says Andrew. “It improves our sense of well-being, making us feel lighter, more connected to ourselves and more appreciative of the important relationships in our lives.”
Step aerobics is a dynamic way to increase your cardiovascular exercise and can be done indoors, which is ideal for getting you through the colder winter months. Not only does step aerobics get the heart pumping, it also helps to develop coordination throughout the body. Step aerobics is a fun and challenging way to increase your heart rate and provide your body with a stimulating challenge.
Pickleball is a relatively new sport, combining elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong. Pickleball is played on a court similar to a badminton court, but with a low net like in tennis. Players use racquets that look like oversized ping-pong paddles and a ball slightly smaller than a wiffleball, which makes this sport much easier on joints than tennis. “Pickleball is accessible to people of varying abilities, but still encourages a good amount of competition for seasoned athletes,” says Andrew. “It also builds hand-eye coordination and stamina, and provides a great cardiovascular workout, encourages quick reflexes, flexibility, balance and agility.”
Aqua Zumba, also sometimes called Aqua Aerobics, is a safe and fun way to achieve cardiovascular exercise through the cold winter months. Aqua Zumba at the Hill allows participants to perform dynamic exercises that would be otherwise impossible on dry land. The safe environment of the pool allows participants to feel more confident in their abilities, giving them the opportunity to become thoroughly engaged in their workout. In addition to being fun, Aqua Zumba increases balance and improves cardiovascular function.
Another water sport offered by the Hill, water volleyball is fun, fast-paced and will improve your hand-eye coordination, balance and core strength. “Water volleyball is an excellent way to disguise exercise by simply having fun,” says Andrew. “The safe environment of the pool allows participants to engage in movements that otherwise might not be possible for them, such as jumping and twisting.” There are great social benefits to this group sport as well, encouraging teamwork and communication.
The Hill offers a variety of fitness options for older adults, including personal training and personalized fitness plans. But no matter where you work out—at the gym, at home, or in group fitness classes—the important thing to remember is that staying active can help keep you feeling young, in both body and mind, as you age.