There is no question that physical activity has long-term benefits no matter what age. Having a sedentary lifestyle is clearly more of a concern than ever today, but for many seniors, an exercise routine needs to have a bit of variety and reachable goals.
Many elderly people find that understanding the exercise makes it more enjoyable. Further, if there is a bit of fun during the classes these tend to be the ones that seniors might practice each day. This is particularly true in a senior living environment.
According to a recent interview by Karen Peterson, executive director of Giving Back Mentoring with Balance program, many seniors see the benefits in ways they may not have expected. The article notes that more exercise each day made seniors feel “a good tired” and they found that they were sleeping much better. Further, along with a good night’s sleep, some also found they had a better appetite.
“The best thing is that I am sleeping much better,” said a senior named Dorothy during the interview with Giving Back Mentoring. “I used to get up after three or four hours of sleeping and could not fall back asleep. This went on for years. Now I sleep like a baby. Now I have to tell the staff not to wake me up in the early morning because I sleep so soundly. Moving my body and doing the exercises naturally makes me tired, a good tired, and so I sleep well. I also feel stronger. I walked over to our interview without any walker. I have more confidence in my physical self.”
Harvard Medical School, in a recent health publication, suggests that Tai Chi, which is often called meditation in motion, is particularly helpful in preventing falls and reducing the effects of arthritis. The Harvard study states that a growing body of research is building a compelling case for tai chi as an adjunct to standard medical treatment for the prevention and rehabilitation of many conditions commonly associated with age. The practice of Tai Chi is helpful for several medical conditions including; low bone density, breast cancer, and its side effects, heart disease and failure, hypertension, Parkinson’s disease, sleep problems, and stroke. It also improves balance, core strength, and may reduce anxiety and depression, and improve memory.
Many seniors and senior care facilities have been enjoying this style of workout and conditioning. Thanks to granted funds from the North Shore Community Health Network and Lahey Health through a Determination of Need agreement the Brookhouse Home can now offer our residents professionally-led Tai Chi classes two times a week.