Group Exercise for Seniors: Why It’s Beneficial
As you age, it becomes more and more essential that you maintain the muscle you worked so hard building in your youth. Research shows that in your 30’s you can start to lose an average of 3% to 5% of your muscle mass every decade.
If you are an older adult, it is vital to maintain as much muscle mass as possible for ease in your functional movements like walking, standing, and the like. For these reasons, and several more below, we recommend group exercise for older adults.
Maintain and Build Strength
According to Wikipedia, functional movements are, “movements based on real-world situational biomechanics.” Movements like getting up out of a chair or bed, walking down a hallway, lifting grocery bags, etc… These movements get much more difficult as we age, but by working out in a group fitness class for elderly gym-goers, you will be able to maintain that muscle memory and help to make moving around much more comfortable.
Maintain Strong Balance
Falls are the leading cause of injury for seniors, 10% of which result in major injuries. By improving your balance, you will strengthen your core muscles and have a better chance of catching yourself when those times come around. An excellent exercise for older adults is yoga. You may think yoga is for people who are already flexible with strong cores, but it is not! It is for people who need to work on strength, flexibility, and—very importantly—their mental state. It is a great low-impact workout that will leave you feeling euphoric in the end. If yoga isn’t your thing, other excellent group exercise classes led by a certified instructor—like indoor cycling and AquaFit—which help to strengthen the muscles at the center of your body, will help to make your balance better overall as you age.
Maintain Joint Health
Our bodies are built with cartilage and extra lubrication around our joint areas to keep them healthy and working correctly. However, when we age, that lubrication tends to go away along with the cartilage. The loss of lubrication and cartilage in the joints causes them to grind together which can ultimately lead to osteoarthritis. For this reason, it is essential to build muscle strength and move more often. You will keep higher levels of cartilage and fluid moving within your joints when doing so. In group exercise classes like AquaFit, you can join in on a low-impact workout that helps you to move and build strength without causing stress on your joints. Water aerobics are especially helpful for seniors because the buoyancy of the water removes stress and weight from your body, allowing for longer workouts that you can enjoy alongside your peers!
Maintain Heart Health
According to the National Institute on Aging, people 65 years of age and older are more likely to suffer from a heart attack, stroke, and develop heart disease and heart failure. It is essential to keep blood and oxygen flowing throughout your body by doing something active every day to combat this statistic. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes per week of heart-pumping activity. Their list of reasons to reach this goal exceeds well beyond the incredible health benefits we’ve already listed. Here is what they have on their site:
- Lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, dementia and Alzheimer’s, several types of cancer, and some complications of pregnancy
- Better sleep, including improvements in insomnia and obstructive sleep apnea
- Improved cognition, including memory, attention and processing speed
- Less weight gain, obesity, and related chronic health conditions
- Better bone health and balance, with less risk of injury from falls
- Fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety
- Better quality of life and sense of overall well-being.
Sense of Community
Finally, one of the most outstanding benefits of group exercise for seniors is the sense of community. Special bonds and friendships are a huge factor in our quality of life and health expectancy. As we age, the support is even more important, but, often, harder to find. Group exercise for the elderly and programs like Silver Sneakers focus on building active communities for older adults. Find out if the gym near you offers Silver Sneakers by visiting their website.
We want to be a part of your health journey. That is why we’ve partnered with programs like Silver Sneakers mentioned above, to help get more seniors into our doors and onto a healthier lifestyle. Each of our group exercise classes can be customized to fit your needs. If there is something you would like to try, ask the instructor if the exercise class is right for you. Our instructors will be able to help you find the group exercise class that is perfect for you. To find out more, check out your location’s page on our website!