When Carol went to see her doctor last year she had many concerns. Her vision, balance and strength were declining, and she had become increasingly afraid of falling. The doctor recommended exercise, but where to start? She didn’t feel comfortable going to a gym or using most exercise equipment. She was anxious to maintain a good quality of life that she knew was slipping away, but she didn’t know where to turn. Her doctor knew that exercise could help with many age related issues, but he had no suggestions or resources for her.
“Gyms can be overwhelming,” says Sara Madsen, founder of HomeAid Fitness (an in-home fitness firm that caters to older clients in Utah). “All the machines and equipment can create ‘option paralysis.’ And compromised balance makes a gym difficult to navigate.” Then there is always the problem of motivation: it’s hard to start something new and it’s harder to be consistent.
Many seniors have found it easier to “bring the gym to them” with an “in-home” fitness trainer. In-home trainers appear at your door with all the equipment you need and can adapt a program to any space. “This is the service we provide,” explains Madsen. “Most importantly, our trainers are used to working with older adults who might need specific exercises.”
Exercise is one of the most important elements in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Researchers have learned that adults lose four to six pounds of muscle each decade after their 20th birthday. Around age 65 this muscle loss makes getting out of a car, climbing stairs or standing from a chair difficult. Aging also limits our range of motion, making small tasks uncomfortable-like tying shoes, doing our hair or gardening.
Fortunately, research shows that about 50% of the decline that comes with aging is preventable with exercise. “For those who embrace exercise in their youth the mantra is always ‘better, better, better,'” says Tracy Hafen, fitness writer and trainer. “But with older adults the goal is ‘maintain, maintain, maintain.” Exercise in no longer about a perfect physique, it’s about being able to pick up your grandkids, play tennis or even get dressed in the morning. As we age, exercise has less to do with vanity and more to do with independence and recovery.
According to Madsen, with in-home exercise there’s no reason why every person can’t have a positive experience no matter the age or strength. “We try to make it fun, affordable and most of all, beneficial.”
Living well comprises so much of life. It means living a positive, creative life. A life ready for adventure and challenges. It is not measured by the size of our home or bank account, but by the lives we touch, the impact we have on family and friends and what we accomplish with the talents and resources we have been blessed with. We encourage you to stay in shape so you can live well.
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