Exercise is essential at every age, and as we grow older, finding the most appropriate means to stay fit can be a challenge.
We all know that keeping active is paramount for the elderly. If sitting is the new smoking, we suggest that your chances of beating a bad habit are better in a pack, and that you should strongly consider a Group Fitness Class.
These classes are certainly not a new concept, originating in the 1970s initially as a mishmash of dance, kickboxing and cardio.
However, their popularity has surged in recent years, as has the diversity in the type of classes now offered. In particular, there has been a significant growth in group exercise tailored toward elderly tastes and abilities. And the success of these types of classes has been noteworthy.
A primary component that distinguishes Group Fitness from many other forms of exercise is the central community aspect. At its very core, group exercise is a social endeavour, designed to bring people together. Think about jogging, or working out with weights in a gym! Even if completed in the company of a friend, these are still independent activities. That may be why for many people these pursuits can become boring and repetitive over time. Making exercise a social activity encourages people to keep up their participation. And this is evidenced in the consistently high attendance rates these types of classes are seeing across the city.
We are by our very nature as human beings social animals, and this type of exercise taps into our need for interaction and shared stimulation.
For many senior citizens, isolation and loneliness are big problems. It is always beneficial to consider new and innovative ways for our elderly to meet new people. A massive benefit with engaging in Group Fitness in your local area is that you have the chance to mix with other people of a similar age and mentality. These new friends can become the foundations of a successful support network that safeguards against your exercise regime dropping in your list of priorities.
Group fitness recommendations for the elderly
Toronto has a wealth of individuals and organisations, both private and public, offering speciality group dance programs for the over 70s. These classes are generally successful in promoting contact and conversation between strangers. They usually guarantee a great cardio workout and keep their participants limber. And also, the music used is primarily from generations-gone-by and stimulates nostalgia amongst the dancers.
If you are in east Toronto check out the Agingcourt Recreation Centre in Scarborough. This wonderful community resource offers drop-in line dancing five mornings a week, Tuesdays through Saturdays, from 8am to 9am.
This ancient Chinese exercise is an excellent group fitness activity for the elderly in today’s western world. It encourages balance and flexibility, as well as inspiring mental agility through the focus and specificity of its choreography.
The North York Seniors Centre, located uptown, is famous for the Tai Chi class it offers both indoors and outdoors.
Exercising in water allows us to attempt motions otherwise unachievable for most. For seniors who enjoy the pool, this is an opportunity to maintain strength through calisthenics and resistance training, while reducing circulatory problems prevalent amongst older people.
In the west of the city, the Wallace Emerson Community Centre has a warm water pool that has regular “aquafit” and water aerobics classes marketed towards the elderly.