Focusing on Fitness: the Benefits of Exercise for Older Adults at UMRC & Porter Hills
August is National Wellness Month! As we come to the last Friday of August, we look at the importance of physical fitness for older adults – from improved health to happier moods.
At almost any time of year at UMRC & Porter Hills, you will see people on the move. Whether it’s biking around the community where they live; using the fitness equipment or taking a water aerobics class in the McMullen Wellness Center at Chelsea Retirement Community or the Martindill Wellness Center at Porter Hills Village; participating in cardio drumming; playing bocce ball or practicing their golf putting on the Rooftop Garden at Porter Hills Village; or walking the trails surrounding Cook Valley Estates – our residents are reaping the benefits of physical activity.
“Exercise has benefits for those of all ages, including a healthier heart, stronger bones and improved flexibility,” says Kelly Mockerman, Community Manager at Cook Valley Estates who also teaches twice weekly beginner and advanced workout classes for residents. “The classes I teach focus on strength and flexibility. For older adults, there are additional benefits, like the fact that regular exercise reduces the risk of chronic diseases, lowers the chance of injury, and can even improve one's mood.”
The National Institutes of Health – National Institute on Aging confirms the many benefits of exercise and physical activity for older adults. These include improving balance and reducing risk of falls, better sleep, decreasing levels of stress and anxiety, and perking up your mood. Studies also show physical fitness may help improve or maintain cognitive function.
“I have witnessed the physical, emotional, and social benefits that the McMullen Wellness Center has provided for our residents,” says Tylene Costello, Director of Lifestyle and Health at Chelsea Retirement Community (CRC). “It is awesome to see our independent living residents swimming, using the equipment, and walking around the track. Our residents continue to strive for health, fitness, and wellness, and their spirit is so inspiring.”
CRC residents Gary and Bernice Packard participate in an average of three exercise classes each week. They enjoy the variety of wellness activities offered and are currently taking part in a “coast to coast” walking challenge. “We log the minutes we walk and Tylene collects these from all the participants, with one minute of walking equaling five miles,” explains Bernice. “It’s a great incentive to keep moving, to do our personal best, and to be part of a common goal among our CRC neighbors.”
“We’re currently in Colorado,” laughs Gary.
Bernice adds, “We are grateful that we have these opportunities at our disposal. It’s a safe environment that we can use, either in group classes or on our own schedule, and whatever the weather. It keeps us moving and keeps us healthy.”
To learn more about the communities of UMRC & Porter Hills, including Chelsea Retirement Community, Cook Valley Estates, and Porter Hills Village, visit our website at umrcph.com.