Functionally fit and preventing falls

The significance of maintaining an active lifestyle into one’s golden years cannot be overstated. This month’s webinar is hosted by Emily Johnson, the founder of StrongerU Senior Fitness. It is not merely an education on exercise but rather a comprehensive discussion on senior fitness and fall prevention, teeming with practical wisdom and heartfelt advice. If you would like to watch this webinar please click here.

Falls for seniors “more common than they should be”
Johnson, a vanguard in the field of senior fitness, opened the webinar by dispelling myths about aging and physical decline. Her approach to fitness is deeply rooted in practicality and focuses on basic, functional movements like rising from a chair without assistance. In Johnson’s eyes, simple things like these movements are the cornerstones of independence and self-assurance for the elderly. Concerned by the consequences of falls for seniors, Johnson warned that “up to 30 percent of older adults will fall each year," and that "they are way more common than they should be." Johnson added: "They are a leading cause of injury and injury-related death for older adults.” 

Techniques and areas to exercise
Johnson’s methodology is a blend of compassion and science and her message is that fitness is not just a pursuit but a lifestyle. She suggested that seniors should engage in muscle-strengthening activities at least twice a week while attempting to target all major muscle groups with a variety of exercises ranging from weightlifting to resistance bands. Johnson also encouraged her audience to improve all areas of the body and went through a variety of exercises to strengthen their legs, hips, back, abs, arms, chest and balance in general.

Personal motivation and enjoyment
The webinar was not just about physical exertion. Johnson talked about the accessible nature of fitness, emphasizing that one does not need a gym to remain active. She advocated for simple pleasures like walking, dancing, and gardening, which can elevate the heart rate and benefit overall health. Her stories of transformation, particularly of individuals who regained their mobility and, consequently, their social independence, were not only uplifting but served as powerful testaments to the efficacy of committed fitness routines.

Emily also stressed the importance of personal motivation and enjoyment, advising seniors to find activities they genuinely enjoy to make exercise an anticipated part of their daily routine, rather than a chore.

Consistency and determination
In discussing the creation of a sustainable exercise routine, Johnson was emphatic about the importance of consistency and enjoyment. “Believe in yourself. If you think you can’t you won’t. If you think you can you will. And don’t quit. Once you get going on something it’s okay to take a break but it’s important to get back to it,” Emily added.  She proposed that seniors begin with exercises they are fond of, integrating these into their daily schedules in a way that fosters anticipation and pleasure. She recognized the social aspect of exercise, suggesting group activities that not only bolster physical health but also build community and camaraderie.

Active by Aspira and Emily’s workout
Jocelyn Wiginton, Aspira’s Regional Resident Engagement Manager then talked about the benefits of Aspira’s signature fitness program Active by Aspira for residents. All fitness levels are catered for with a range of different classes available. Johnson ended the webinar with a useful workout to music that was performed seated in a chair, standing and standing with weights. If you would like to enjoy this workout or learn about staying fit and how to prevent falls in the future please click here.

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