Stan Cohen – Senior Wellness

Posts Tagged ‘Fitness

5 Myths about Exercise and Older Adults

Myth 1: There’s no point to exercising. I’m going to get old anyway.

Fact: Exercise and strength training helps you look and feel younger and stay active longer. Regular physical activity lowers your risk for a variety of conditions, including Alzheimer’s and dementia, heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, high blood pressure, and obesity.

Myth 2: Elderly people shouldn’t exercise. They should save their strength and rest.

Fact: Research shows that a sedentary lifestyle is unhealthy for the elderly. Period. Inactivity often causes seniors to lose the ability to do things on their own and can lead to more hospitalizations, doctor visits, and use of medicines for illnesses.

Myth 3: Exercise puts me at risk of falling down.

Fact: Regular exercise, by building strength and stamina, prevents loss of bone mass and improves balance, actually reducing your risk of falling.

Myth 4: It’s too late. I’m already too old, to start exercising

Fact: You’re never too old to exercise! If you’ve never exercised before, or it’s been a while, start with light walking and other gentle activities.

Myth 5: I’m disabled. I can’t exercise sitting down.

Fact: Chair-bound people face special challenges but can lift light weights, stretch, and do chair aerobics to increase range of motion, improve muscle tone, and promote cardiovascular health.

As a teacher of movement and balance exercises for seniors in Independent and assisted living center, I run across a good number of seniors who are used to sitting and doing nothing during the course of a normal day. I find this to be true also of most over 80 seniors who are home bound.

Having been a caregiver to my mother-in-law and working with my mom who is in her 80’s the main issues for them not exercising is not what I first thought it would be. I used to think they just don’t care and have chosen to give up and as a result have let themselves go.  Read the rest of this entry »

This is my first post in quite some time.  to be honest, I’ve been very busy working on my seniors and family care givers website and have not had much time to think about blogging.

But, just this past week in one of my classes at The House of Good Shepherd I had quite a conversation with one of the independent living residents.

The women, let’s call her June, was in class last month and was telling me that the following day she was going for therapy and was going to have to “walk the plank”.  I asked her about this and she informed me that part of her therapy was going to be working on her balance by walking heel to toe on a 6″ wide board, about 8 feet long.

I asked if she was comfortable with this idea and she said “no, I don’t have very good balance and I am afraid of falling over”.  Since she was new to class I asked her if she knew anything about the rolling walk, or the heel first method of stepping.  Again she said no.

We proceeded to practice this simple “Tai Chi” style of taking a balanced, heel to toe rolling step. First as baby steps and worked it into a slightly smaller than normal step. We then did this near a wall where she would finger touch for balance and she tried the heel in front of the other foot toe walk.

To her surprise, she felt comfortable with it. Still needing practice, and lots of it of course, the thanked me and we went our separate ways.

Just yesterday, the first day seeing her since, she told me that she amazed the therapist by having no trouble on the board using the method I showed her.  I asked if the therapist mentioned the walk and she said no, but he was very interested in what she was doing”.

I continued to ask questions on what they were teaching her at physical therapy and she said “they don’t teach me anything” and “I learn more in this class about building my balance and safety then with them by far”.

Now, this is the bottom line of my peeve. I am not a physical therapist. I teach common sense movement based in Tai Chi theory.  I am not a “licensed professional”  from any institute yet I hear these similar type comments from most of my elder students.

The question is, why don’t they teach people how to walk, how to stand, how to build balance and leg strength using simple exercises that are withing their range of capabilities?

I would love some comments on this issue.  Have you experienced this and if so, how do you work on building your capabilities?

 

Howie Shareff
You Call this Yoga

In my journey as a physical therapy patient and yoga teacher, I have found that most people overlook proper body positioning while seated or in motion. Our society has become sedentary from inactivity, excessive watching of TV and hunching over computers. Many people tend to shuffle as they walk. The result has been perpetuation of poor posture, with muscles under-functioning and operating out of balance. Here are my tips for improved seating and walking.

While seated: Read the rest of this entry »

Carole Carson
From Fat to Fit

Although it’s easier today than it was 10 years ago, staying fit while traveling is still a challenge. At home, I don’t keep a small refrigerator stocked with liquor and snacks next to my bed. But my hotel room has one, and the Snickers candy bar calls out my name around ten o’clock each night.

And when I breakfast at home, I am not surrounded by glazed doughnuts or luscious pastries too beautiful to eat. Nor does my evening meal tempt me with two or three of my favorite foods in quantities that even a lumberjack would have trouble polishing off. Read the rest of this entry »

 My mother, at age 80 is very active and living in a typical Florida retirement community.  On a visit to her she was discussing some physical issues that were due too natural aging.  Her issues were loss of muscle tone, declining energy, overall stiffness and soreness.  We discussed the exercise programs offered in her community.  She mentioned that the exercise equipment was too strenuous, Traditional Tai Chi was to complex for her too understand and the aerobics too difficult. Overall, she was frustrated by the lack of a program that she felt comfortable with to build her balance and flexibility. Read the rest of this entry »

I see and read so many articles that talk solely about the physical aspect of  older adult and senior fitness.  Granted, I teach a fitness program in Independent and Assisted living centers, so I yes I strongly believe keeping active is an integral part of the wellness package.  However, it is only one part.

I believe in the whole person concept of wellness and fitness.  As people, our lives are comprised of a myriad of parts.  We need to keep a balance in our lives.  Although we are all similar, we all crave different amounts of each area that are important, which is what makes us unique.  Most of us do require the following to be whole fit: Read the rest of this entry »


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