No matter what we do, our bodies will gradually lose their strength over time. This doesn’t mean we never focus on strength training and fitness – indeed, there are plenty of elderly people who are stronger than some twenty-year olds. But it does mean we might require alternative focuses for senior health and fitness – that might not apply so perfectly to the kinds of fitness that younger folk can do.
Consider a recent report by CBS News:
“Episcopal Homes of Minnesota and Xccent Fitness opened a new motion wellness gym for seniors that has a first-of-its-kind indoor play structure designed to reduce the risk of falls.”
Here we see seniors using equipment, specifically jungle gyms, to try improve their health and well-being. As the article notes: “ According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) one of three adults aged 65 or older falls each year, and falls are the leading cause of injury among this group.”
This means one of the greatest dangers for seniors is a fall; and falls are common for all activities, but especially for fitness. This means having structures like jungle gyms – heavily controlled, but supported spaces designed for strength and endurance – can be highly beneficial.
The Reebok Sports Club, in London, has specific courses for seniors. A key area here is that it allows for seniors to be with those their own age, which helps them feel less ashamed and more likely to continue to participate.
As senior fitness instructor, Zoe Mundell, told Sports Review: “we wanted to introduce a class environment where our senior members could all socialise together which would be appealing to their fitness level and social group. We are looking at the benefits of improving their fitness and improving their strength and bone density. We also want to work on agility, balance and reaction times to prevent fractures from falls.”
After all fitness isn’t just about exercises but willpower to perform those exercises and finding ways for people to actually do those exercises. Instructors can bark instructions until the cows come home, but everything about fitness and health is personal responsibility. By helping show seniors others their age are interested in staying in shape and healthy, it can create personal motivation to do so, too – after all, people like to associate with those like themselves or take interest in those they like.
Social structures are important to health in many ways and being aware of that, especially for seniors is another key way to benefit their health.