I recently taught my first series of Silver Sneakers exercise classes at my local gym and learned two things. First, you can work up a sweat while sitting in a chair, and second, it’s never too late to start a fitness regimen. Even if you've been a couch potato or weekend warrior, starting an exercise program later in life can have multiple benefits. Aside from improving your fitness and strength, it is a great way to socialize and get accustomed to a gym setting. It is also especially important to weight train as you age. Studies have shown that weight training can reverse bone loss and help prevent bone fractures due to osteoporosis. http://www.webmd.com/osteoporosis/living-with-osteoporosis-7/weight-training
Silver Sneakers are fitness classes for older adults designed to improve flexibility, range of motion and increase muscular strength. The tools used are elastic tubes, weights and fitness balls combined with low impact aerobic choreography. The combination of functional resistance training and cardiovascular exercise benefits older adults in their daily life activities.
Since I was a substitute and this was my first class, I had to learn a few things: how to work the stereo, unlock the padlocked closet and learn everyone’s names. I also studied the music and created my routine of weight training, flexibility and balance exercises, alternating with elementary dance steps. I enjoyed doing this since I was famliar with the ‘60’s music, like “Rescue Me”, "Na Na, Hey, Hey”, and “Wild Thing.” I practiced the cha cha and mambo in the living room with my kids as participants, critiquing me.
I was a little nervous in front of my first class, and had my cheat sheet nearby, as I warmed up the Silver Sneakers members. They were gracious as I sometimes mixed up my right and left, since I had to face them and mirror their steps; my right being their left, etc. Many times I would exclaim, “O.k, now bicep curl…with the other hand!” By class four, I felt more confident, looser and knew everyone’s names. I’m a firm believer in stretching, so every class ended with upper and lower body stretching and breathing. The benefits were mutual. I had a lot of fun and gained great satisfaction knowing that I helped those in my class improve their fitness and mobility.
For more information on the Silver Sneakers fitness program, click on their website: http://www.silversneakers.com/