Consistent with the data which show that seniors do not like exercising with younger people, there is a theory that people of all ages prefer to exercise with those their own age. Further, research shows that people are much more likely to persevere with exercise in a group setting. Unfortunately, many senior exercise programs are geared to helping seniors work out alone.
The goal should be to advocate and nurture group exercise for senior citizens, whether it is through community centers or private club-like entities.
One approach to this is “Nifty After Fifty”, manifested as a growing chain of locations in Southern California dedicated to “well-being and lasting independence” for the senior interested in health and fitness. Among many things, this program offers spa services, brain aerobics, driver training, nutritional programs, and full-body strength training for today’s young senior citizen in a non-threatening environment. This health and fitness chain is one answer to some of the concerns researchers have had when the senior patient sets forth on the quest for physical improvement.
When a senior joins Nifty After Fifty, the new member is evaluated by physical therapists and fitness coaches. The result is a customized fitness program, whose foundation is based upon the strengths (and recognized weaknesses) of the individual’s medical and social history. Strength training is achieved with modern computerized pneumatic resistance machines, which allow for safer workouts and accurate monitoring. Flexible exercise programs are offered in the form of yoga. Nifty After Fifty members have decreased their risk for falls and fractures by more than 85%.
At this time of the year, full of New Year resolutions, the arrival of such an enterprise is none too soon, as the population ages, and the medical community struggles with ways to keep the more senior among us healthy, functional, and pain free.
I understand that there are a number of similar senior programs available. Let us hope that such ventures are successful. The research shows that such ventures are necessary.