Most of us know by now that exercise and diet are essential for overall wellness. And that doesn’t lessen as we age. In fact, what we now know is that maintaining an exercise routine well past our prime can play a significant role in staying healthy and active longer.
Research suggests benefits of exercise for those with Dementia
According to recent studies on Alzheimer’s and dementia, exercise might do more than we think. Evidence suggests that biochemical changes, created by exercise, can “fertilize” our brain and mend nerve cell health. Although additional research is needed, prioritizing exercise and nutrition in our communities clearly improves the quality of life for all residents, including those with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. At Maplewood Senior Living, our focus is on helping residents enjoy a high quality of life which includes staying active and independent.
Along with the attention given to cognitive health, ensuring we maintain balance and strength is essential. When these two components work together, seniors can better avoid falls that may occur from tripping or loss of balance. If a fall were to occur, strength is the best defense against potential injury.
CDC’s Advice on Exercise for Senior Population
The good news is that exercise for senior citizens doesn’t require a back-breaking level of commitment to reap the benefits. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Older adults can obtain significant health benefits with a moderate amount of physical activity, preferably daily.” For our residents that are not currently active, that might mean getting moving for as little as five or ten minutes a day. As stamina and strength improve, the opportunity to engage in more activities, for more extended periods, is presented.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) even weighs in on the topic of exercise as we age, providing the following list of benefits of physical activities:
- Helps maintain the ability to live independently and reduces the risk of falling and fracturing bones.
- Reduces the risk of dying from coronary heart disease and of developing high blood pressure, colon cancer, and diabetes.
- Can help reduce blood pressure in some people with hypertension.
- Helps people with chronic, disabling conditions improve their stamina and muscle strength.
- Reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression and fosters improvements in mood and feelings of well-being.
- Helps maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints.
- Helps control joint swelling and pain associated with arthritis.
The Fitness Club at Maplewood at Mayflower Place
While merely walking might be enjoyable for some of our Maplewood Senior Living residents, we offer much more to keep our residents active. One of our Cape Cod communities, Maplewood at Mayflower Place, has recently opened a new fitness club. Encompassing 5,000 square feet, The Fitness Club features a full aquatic center, indoor heated pool and hydrotherapy pool. Traditional weight equipment and state-of-the-art amenities, like Keiser pressurized-air strength machines, are also available for residents to utilize. These unique training machines feature innovative technology to protect bones and joints during exercise.
One of the best features of The Fitness Club, is that it is open to the greater Cape Cod area – not just the residents of the community. The staff at The Fitness Club at Maplewood at Mayflower Place is dedicated to meeting the fitness goals of the Cape Code community, and offers variable membership rates that can be tailored to individual needs/interests.
Richard (Rick) Pizzuto, Exercise Physiologist and Fitness Director at Mayflower Place, provides professional oversight to the fitness programs at The Fitness Club. Rick oversees all programming and works with residents to determine the best regimen for their goals, current health conditions and age.
According to Rick, many traditional gyms offer only some of the needs residents might have, like a gym but not a pool. At Maplewood at Mayflower Place, the options that residents need are available all in one place. Rick even points out how the temperature of the pool plays a role in a resident’s health. “We have therapeutic pools, with warmer temperatures that are good for arthritis.”
Rick adds that his approach to physical fitness is gentle but firm, in that, gradual increases in weights and movements can net big results. Building the residents confidence helps engage them in fitness programs, which can lead to the following benefits:
- Increased strength
- Cardiovascular endurance
- Increased agility
All of these can lead to a reduction in need for assistive devices, like canes or walkers, and the strength and stamina typically will correlate to a reduction in risk of falls.
Where to Look for Fitness Opportunities
A great way to begin exercising is to find a community-based physical activity program – ideally something that offers aerobic, strengthening and flexibility components designed for older adults. Oftentimes, these programs are available through your local Parks and Recreation office, Senior Centers or local fitness centers. Many churches are now also offering fitness or yoga programs as a way to create social interaction among friends within the church, and many of these are also open to members of the community. If you live in the greater Cape Cod area, we’d encourage you to reach out to our Maplewood at Mayflower Place community, and consider joining us at The Fitness Club. Many shopping malls will also offer the opportunity to walk indoors before the stores open, which is a great way to still get in a walk, even when the weather is bad. It’s also important to look into transportation provided by Senior Centers or Parks and Recreation departments – many will offer to transport you to exercise groups, to ensure that it is accessible to as many folks in the community as possible.
Maplewood Senior Living is committed to offering the best programs and amenities to our residents. The Fitness Club is just one example of our community-minded approaches to preventative care and physical well-being. If you’d like to see The Fitness Club at Maplewood at Mayflower Place for yourself, please reach out, we’d love to show you around.