Fitness for Life’ emphasizes benefits of exercise!
Lori Brown of Paragon Health Care Group speaks on the topic “Fitness for Life: More Than Just Exercise.”
The people who attend Fitness for Life classes have a variety of conditions to overcome.
”Some are in wheelchairs, some in walkers,” said Lori Brown who conducts Fitness for Life classes for Paragon Health Care Group. “We have some who are visually impaired or hearing impaired, and some in various stages of dementia. We adjust the exercises for whoever is in the class.”
Brown spoke to about 23 people at the RSVP Lunch on Thursday at The Cotton Patch. Her topic was “Fitness for Life: More Than Just Exercise.”
Brown demonstrated how participants can exercise sitting down using resistance bands, or improve their balance while holding onto the back of a chair.
“We had one woman who could not balance herself while holding onto the back of a chair at all when she first came in. This week – 45 seconds!” Brown said.
Good balance is a component of fitness along with strength and flexibility. Brown quoted statistics concerning the dangers of falling after age 65:
•One in three adults aged 65 and older falls each year.
•20 percent to 30 percent suffer moderate to severe injuries and increase their risk of early death.
•90 percent of hip fractures are caused by falls.
•Falling can result in a reduced quality of life by limiting activities and social engagements, bringing on further physical decline, depression, social isolation and feelings of hopelessness.
“Falls are the leading cause of non-traumatic hospital admissions,” she told the group.
Brown asked the group what kinds of exercise they enjoy, and answers included dancing, walking, gardening and yoga.
When asked what comes to mind when they think about exercise, on group member answered, “Sweat.”
While assuring them there was no need to run a marathon, Brown emphasized the importance of exercise by saying, “Lack of exercise is the new smoking.”
She added that for every four hours you spend sitting, you should spend a half hour exercising. That half hour, however, doesn’t need to be done all at once.
“You can break it up into 10 minutes three times a day, by walking around the block, for example,” she said.
Someone mentioned that Hale County Senior Center offers a fitness class. Another participant suggested the dances held at First Christian Church every Monday night.
Brown said that during inclement weather, some people like to walk around Walmart, Tractor Supply and Gebo’s.
Balancing exercises, such as standing on one foot, are possible to incorporate into a daily routine at home, Brown said. You can balance on one foot while standing in front of the kitchen or bathroom sink or waiting for the microwave.
Strengthening the core – the area of the body that includes everything except the arms and legs – can also contribute to good balance. Brown said her high school age daughter attended an intensive dance camp that incorporated core-strengthening exercises such as planks and sit-ups.
She came home and told her mom, “My balance was awesome!”
A good flexibility exercise is writing the alphabet in the air with your feet while sitting in a chair. Brown said she has seen people do this while waiting in a doctor’s office.
Keeping hydrated before, during and after exercise is important, and even more important as we age.
“Water is the best – we all know that, but we don’t want to drink it,” Brown said. She suggested adding flavors such as lemon, ginger or mint to plain water. Coconut water, she said, is a good alternative.
Brown offered tips for exercising such as wearing good supportive shoes and stretching before and after a workout.
“A stretch should feel good,” she said. “If you feel pain – don’t do it.”
Brown listed the following benefits of exercise:
1. Increased immunity
2. Increased stamina and endurance
3. Increased balance
4. Increased flexibility and range of motion
5. Lower risk of heart disease and high blood pressure
6. Lower risk of chronic conditions/illnesses such as diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, colon cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease or dementia
7. Increased gastrointestinal function
8. Protection against osteoporosis, especially weight-bearing exercises
9. Great for your brain!
Some people are tempted to get their exercise benefits in a hurry, leading them to overdo the first time they work out. This can cause excessive soreness and pain.
“If you tire yourself out the first day, you don’t feel like continuing,” Brown cautioned.
Paragon Healthcare has rehabilitation and nursing facilities in Hale Centre, Lockney and Tulia. They serve patients who live in the communities as well as those who come for a few weeks of rehabilitation after an illness or surgery.