By Diana Giraldo, Reporter
Clovis Roundup Newspaper
All types of exercises are beneficial for the body, but for seniors exercise has even more benefits that promote an independent lifestyle, according to Lyndon Joseph, a Health Scientist Administrator at the National Institute on Aging.
“People who exercise regularly are able to get around in the community more easily,” said Joseph. “And we know that from a metabolic perspective people engaging in exercise programs have better control of their blood pressure, blood glucose, and cholesterol levels.”
At 63-years-old, Steve Olson is a living testimony to the benefits of working out and keeping an active lifestyle. He retired as a Fresno State publication specialist in agricultural research due to health issues, but is trying to battle back using the gym as his number one aid.
“In the past I would work out enough to get my endorphins going, and I felt good but lately it’s been hard to crank it up like I usually do,” said Olson.
By dedicating an hour and a half, five to six days a week at the gym, Olson is building his stamina, which he says contributes to his longevity and restful nights.
“I always feel better after I’ve worked out because I know that I’ve done good things for my body,” he said.
No matter their age, sedentary seniors are urged to start moving.
“Some seniors will get to a point in their older years where they literally just have trouble getting up from a seated position, and it’s important that they are able to maintain the ability to stay independent,” said Shonna Halterman, the Clovis Senior Activity Center general services manager.
To begin an exercise regimen, Joseph recommends to start at a slow comfortable pace with a 10-minute walking activity and to increase the exercise time as the body becomes fit.
“We promote every type of exercise, aerobics, strength training, balance and flexibility because every type of physical exercise promotes a lot of benefits to the individual,” said Joseph.
Aerobic activities like brisk walking and dancing encourages better heart, lung, and circulatory system health which can build endurance.
Strength or resistance training like lifting weights, or using a resistance band can increase the ability to stay independent and carry out everyday activities, such as climbing stairs and carrying groceries.
Balance exercises like Tai Chi and standing on one foot can prevent falls.
Flexibility exercises like Yoga can help stretch muscles and help the body stay limber, according to the National Institute on Aging website, go4life.nia.nih.gov.
The Clovis Senior Center has daily activity classes which focus on the wellbeing of older adults like line dancing, square dancing, cycling, and Tai Chi.
In her experience, Halterman has noted the seniors who are more active are happier and experience a more enjoyable life.
“The big thing is that it should be fun, it shouldn’t be something they hate doing,” said Halterman “So if they are down here with friends, taking walks, or hanging out with other seniors then they are more likely to exercise and keep moving.”
As an added bonus, Joseph emphasized to imagine the benefits seniors will get from being active.
“It results in better health, better quality of life, more independence, and freedom from pain,” he said. “That should motivate them enough to start a gradual exercise program.”