Exercise for seniors can prevent injuries

Robin Ringland, left, trains on TRX with personal trainer Cheryl Guthrie, at the Stillaguamish Athletic Club. - Lauren Salcedo
Robin Ringland, left, trains on TRX with personal trainer Cheryl Guthrie, at the Stillaguamish Athletic Club.
— image credit: Lauren Salcedo

ARLINGTON — For seniors looking to maintain physical and mental health, regular exercise can be a source of strength. But as the human body ages, muscles can weaken and joints can get sore, so extremely strenuous exercise can be dangerous.

“As you get older, you really want to have strong muscles so that it prevents you from falling,” said Stillaguamish Athletic Club membership director Lynn Marks. “Or, if you do fall, rather than breaking a hip or shoulder, you are strong and not so fragile.”

At the Stillaguamish Athletic Club, there are several options for regular exercise for seniors.

“We have a class called Fit for Life,” said Marks. “It’s a low impact, cardiovascular exercise class that also includes strength training because you really want to be able to build up your muscles.”

Marks noted that making sure to participate in low-impact exercises is essential for seniors, to protect joints that might already be vulnerable.

According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, regular exercise can prevent or delay diabetes and heart trouble. It can also reduce arthritis pain, anxiety and depression. It can help older people stay independent. The NIH recommends several different kinds of exercises for those who are aging, including endurance activities like walking, swimming or riding a bike, which improve circulatory system health as well as strengthening the heart. Also recommended are strength exercises that build muscle tissue and reduce age-related muscle loss, and stretching exercises to keep the body limber and flexible, as well as balance exercises to reduce the chances of a fall.

The Stillaguamish Athletic Club offers other exercise classes that are open to people of all ages and can be beneficial for seniors.

“Zumba Gold is good for seniors as well,” said Marks. “It’s not as intense as regular Zumba, so that is a good one that is low impact.” Another class that the club offers on a regular basis is yoga. “Yoga is always good, with all ages,” said Marks. “It stretches the muscles and strengthens them at the same time.”

According to Marks, the Stillaguamish Athletic Club is a good environment for older generations. “When they first sign up, they are really geared up for water aerobics,” she said. “Water classes are great for cardio, but they should also look into strength training.”

The club offers TRX, a kind of strength training exercise that uses one’s own body weight to create resistance. Robin Ringland, 59, trains at Stillaguamish Athletic Club and has been working on TRX. She exercises frequently and maintains a good level of physical fitness.

“I’m a teacher and you need a lot of energy to be a good teacher,” said Ringland. “I come here to swim and I bike. It takes away a lot of the aches and pains of getting older.”

The Stillaguamish Athletic Club offers senior discounts for those 62 years and older. For more information contact the club at 360-435-9404.


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