Oftentimes when we think of our retirement years, we picture a carefree life of ease, in which each new day brings another opportunity to sit back and relax. After years of working hard, raising a family and “paying your dues,” you’ve earned the right to indulge yourself, correct?
However, experts in senior health now say that nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the old saying, “use it or lose it” is particularly applicable to senior health. Exercising and maintaining flexibility are actually secret weapons for anti-aging and boosting senior health.
The Senior Health Connection Between Fitness, Flexibility and Aging
Sue Sunderland, Executive Director at The Bridges at Warwick in Jamison, PA, says, “Experts in healthy aging and long-term senior health advise that regular physical activity, including flexibility, balance and strength exercises, is essential for avoiding both physical and mental decline.
“Today, there are a wide variety of safe, productive exercises available that effectively promote senior health, well-being and optimal living. Walking, stretching, weight training, tai chi and yoga all have significant benefits that improve health and slow the aging process. They improve flexibility and strength and serve to prevent what is akin to ‘rust and corrosion’ in the body that slows you down and makes you more susceptible to illness and injury.
“Here at The Bridges at Warwick, we believe that activities that aid flexibility and exercise are so vital to senior health that we’ve made them a fixture in our Optimal Living Program with our FOX Rehabilitation partners.”
The Facts Behind the Benefits of Flexibility in Senior Health
The article, “What You Need to Know About Fitness After 60,” explains that physical decline associated with aging is not simply the result of getting older. In many ways, it is the result of becoming less active as we age. That is, it’s not aging that forces us to take it easy; it’s taking it too easy that makes aging more debilitating than it should be.
As you get older, they say our bodies are more effective at repairing and maintaining themselves when we keep them well conditioned through a program of regular physical activity, exercise and good nutrition. They say that slacking off on healthy habits is the primary factor in age-related problems like excessive muscle loss, deteriorating density, declines in strength and aerobic fitness, and increased difficulties with balance and flexibility.
Why Flexibility Is so Valuable to Senior Health
In addition, the article, “Exercise for Anti-Aging,” highlights the intrinsic value of flexibility as an essential element of senior health. The authors say that anti-aging exercises should always include activities designed to maintain or increase your flexibility. Exercises without a high level of flexibility can make your body extremely prone to injuries, they add.
And because maintaining an exercise program that includes flexibility is so vital to fighting the signs of aging and promoting senior health, these activities should be continued through life. Continuing a program of flexibility is not a major task they say, and it is one of the simplest anti-aging steps for maintaining senior health.
Flexibility Tips You Can Use Every Day
Incorporating simple stretches into your daily routine can be very easy. Stretches can be worked into your schedule in a variety of ways. For example, stretching when you get up in the morning, when you’re watching TV or before you go to bed at night are all sound ways to make exercise part of your day.
Thearticle,“Exercise & Physical Activity: Your Everyday Guide” emphasizes the importance of stretching and flexibility exercises as an essential part of any senior health improvement program. It says these activities provide more freedom of movement for your daily physical activities such as getting dressed and reaching objects on a shelf.
The article also offers helpful ideas for several different stretching exercises designed to improve flexibility in the neck, back, legs, arms and upper body that you can use daily.
As a general routine for senior health, they suggest:
- Do each stretching exercise three to five times at each session.
- Slowly stretch into the desired position, as far as possible without pain, and hold the stretch for 10 to 30 seconds. Relax, breathe and then repeat, trying to stretch farther.
- As you become more flexible, try reaching farther, but not so far that it hurts.
Prior to starting a flexibility and stretching routine, check with your doctor to make sure it is safe for you!
Senior Health Means Wellness and Optimal Living at The Bridges at Warwick
Sue adds, “Here at The Bridges at Warwick, we view exercise and flexibility as essential building blocks of senior health. Therefore, we offer a regular regimen of exercise and a focus on prevention through the FOX Optimal Living Program provided by nationally renowned Fox Rehabilitation™.
“This program improves strength, flexibility and balance, which translates into fewer falls, fewer hospitalizations and better senior health and lifestyles. Participants benefit from more than 150 minutes of therapeutic physical activity each week. Residents have the option of a one-on-one class, or a group class based on similar levels of fitness.
“At the Bridges at Warwick, senior health is not just a program. It is a part of our mission to achieve healthier, more enriching lives for all of our residents.”
Activity. Friendship. Support. Convenience. Value.
Now open, you’ll find it all at The Bridges at Warwick, located in beautiful Bucks County, where every day is a celebration of seniors. Our philosophy of “Celebrating Life” means that our residents enjoy a sense of purpose and contentment along with fun, personalized care and a focus on total well-being.
Our Personalized Supportive Care provides just the right amount of assistance to help you remain independent, along with life-enriching programs, services and amenities. Our exclusive Vista Transitional Living Program is for our supportive care residents who have memory challenges but do not yet require a secure residence. For those whose memory loss is more advanced, we offer The Vista, our specialized, comprehensive memory care residence.
In keeping with our founder Robert Basile’s personal philosophy, developed during his efforts to find quality senior living for his beloved father, senior adults remain our passion. We fill our residents’ lives with countless opportunities to engage with both new and treasured friends; events and programs to enjoy with family members and loved ones; as well as innovative and creative activities that foster engagement. Our dedication to total wellness – for mind, body and spirit – is woven into our culture every day.