Beginning or maintaining an exercise routine can be a real challenge as you age. You may feel discouraged by aches and pains, ongoing health problems, or concerns about injuries or falls. However, staying active is highly important to living a longer, happier and healthier life. Not to mention staying active helps seniors to heal faster, prevent disease, increase balance and increase mental capacity.
In fact, at Emerald Heights physical activity is so important it’s part of our ‘Seven Aspects for Whole Body Wellness.’ We try to come up with campus-wide challenges to encourage residents and staff to increase their daily physical activity and be a more engaged participant in their own wellness. The biggest key to keeping residents and staff active is by keeping our fitness activities fresh and fun. Take a look at two of our most recent programs that were a huge success.
Walk Around the World
Pedometer challenges are fun, because just about everyone can participate, and do little (or big) things throughout their day to increase their steps. Residents and staff turn in their steps each week and we total them to give updates on where in the world we are based on the collective steps we took.
Benefits from walking include improving cardiovascular health, improving sleep, mood, and cognitive performance as well as aiding in maintaining a healthy body weight. We really try to stress that every little bit counts and we try to give residents and staff the tools to set their own personal goals. As we age, walking becomes such an important part of maintaining mobility and independence. Other benefits of walking for an older population include maintaining leg strength and supporting joint health.
Mount Rainier Hike
The Mount Rainier hike was one of the monthly hikes led by the resident services and fitness teams. There was a lot of demand from residents to have a hike down to Mount Rainier, a group of 25 residents attended. the group hiked the Bench and Snow Lake hikes, which was 2.2 miles in total, with 700 feet of elevation gain.
Routine hikes are one opportunity offered to residents to keep hiking in a safe environment with a group and leader, and without having to drive anywhere on their own.
Regardless of whether someone has an active and physical lifestyle, or the normal physical activity is a short trip from the couch to the refrigerator, increasing the level of activity has significant benefits for both short and long term. The “use it, or lose it” motto is key when getting older. As we age, we tend to lose muscle mass, functional ability, and balance. We have found that our resident who continually engage in challenging activity, it becomes easier for them to participate in higher levels of activity for longer period of time. We know that many of the things that get worse or harder with age, improve with exercise.