Exercise is the Best Tonic for a Happy, Healthy Life
Wellness is more than just doctors’ appointments, it’s a lifestyle. You don’t have to be an Olympian to stay healthy. Physical activity, balanced eating and socialization are all important factors for aging well. There’s plenty you can start doing today that will keep you vibrant and active longer. Exercise may come easier to some than others, but at The Knolls, there’s something for everyone to get you on your feet and start moving.
Low Impact Yields Big Results
Just keep swimming,” is an often-repeated quote by Dory, played by Ellen Degeneres in Pixar’s popular film, Finding Nemo. There’s a great deal of wisdom in this short but effective mantra. In life, we only get one body and it’s up to us to take care of it. Doctors resoundingly agree that exercise is key to a long and fruitful life because as they say, “if you don’t use it, you lose it.”
If you dread exercise, it’s important to change your outlook. Find activities that speak to you. Low-impact workouts are an accessible way for people of all ages to enjoy being active. Examples of low-impact, high-yield workouts are water aerobics, Pilates, yoga and many others. While none of these activities are likely to result in a bodybuilder’s physique, their purpose is to be fun and keep you limber. Cardio like cycling and dancing keeps your blood pressure in check and has been shown to reduce cholesterol.
The more you do something, the easier it becomes. Building a proper fitness routine is a big part of seeing results. Setting goals with either a trainer or just on your own is a great way to stay on track. And incentivizing yourself with rewards is a great way to achieve your fitness goals.
Dive Right In
Our water aerobics course is one of the most popular at The Knolls, so we’re thrilled to unveil our beautiful, newly renovated indoor pool. It’s one more way we can offer quality programs and activities to our residents. Fitness instructor Sara Morales-Martinez is always busy creating programming and helping residents stay in shape. As a personal trainer, she takes great satisfaction in seeing people reach their goals.
“A lot of seniors have trouble lifting their arms over their heads due to weak shoulder muscles,” she says. “I was able to help one woman lift hers. She hasn’t been able to reach over her head in 30 years or so and I helped her do it. I saw her today and she lifted her arm over her head and said, ‘look at me!’ She was so happy she was crying. And it was just because I was able to get her moving,” Sara explains.
Mobility and balance are two big concerns for seniors. Water exercise engages more muscles than typical aerobics classes and that promotes better flexibility which is essential to mobility. For those concerned with falls, water workouts also contribute to increased leg strength and better balance overall. Other common health risks among seniors can also be reduced through aquatics.
Balance is huge,” she says. “We’re all afraid of falling. My goal is to help them with balance training, building a stronger core and stretching their muscles — especially their spines — for flexibility, so they have more control.”
On Dry Land
While we’re awfully proud of our pool, we have many other types of workout classes too. Sara teaches group fitness classes and individual training sessions for residents who want to get involved while staying dry. Sara has a dance background and in her time at The Knolls has expanded group classes to include yoga, Pilates and Zumba dance classes. Dance is an excellent way to keep heart rates up and smiles beaming.
Exercise is also a major part of rehabilitation from a fall or other event. Sara works closely with the physical therapist at The Knolls to help residents recover and quickly get back to living their best lives.
“I always tell the residents I work with, listen to your physical therapist. I listened to your physical therapist. I follow their instructions and make it very clear —especially with my 102-year-old,” she says laughing. He told me, ‘You have to tell me what to do.’ I said no, talk to the physical therapist first, then she’ll talk to me, and we’ll decide what you need to do.”
There’s almost nothing better than the post-workout rush of endorphins. The feel-good chemicals in our brains are triggered by exercise, which results in a better outlook. The combination of socialization and physical activity will make you feel good about yourself and having good self-esteem contributes to your overall wellness. We want you to be as happy as you are healthy.
As the new year is upon us, think about what your fitness plan looks like. If you’re considering a retirement community, we’d like to invite you to visit our wellness center and meet with our dedicated training staff. Call 914-461-4517 to schedule your visit today!