Workout classes run rampant in this city—that’s pretty undeniable. But the demographic in almost all of those classes tend to be millennials clad in fancy workout gear running straight from work before meeting friends for drinks. It’s a culture that we all tend to prescribe to but millennials aren’t the only ones who need workout classes. What about the older adult population?
Cindy Sullivan, a certified senior fitness specialist—who offers in-home and on-site training to adults mostly over the age of 50—really sees the lack of attention this demographic is receiving in the city, and in response will be hosting a fitness week just for them. The week, called “Spring Into Action,” will take place from March 18-March 22 at Beacon Hill Village—a non-profit organization helping older adults live independently longer by offering services like transportation to the grocery store or doctors office, among other things. All classes are free to members and $10 for the general public.
“It’s very clear that as we get older our bodies change,” Sullivan says. “But I don’t think that should prevent us from doing the things we want to do. I just think you need to change the way you do them.” Meaning, she has her older clients work heavily on their balance and incorporates a ton of functional fitness training into her sessions—which is a type of training that mimics our activities of daily living like getting in and out of a car or putting an object on a shelf overhead. She even says some of her clients that are in their 80s are much stronger than her 40-year-old friends.
During the fitness week, participants can choose from strength training, sunrise yoga, balance training, Pilates, and functional fitness. Sullivan will be coaching all classes except yoga and Pilates. During the strength class Sullivan hopes to reframe the way older adults think about strength training and reinforce the positive side effects it can have on bone density, cognitive function, and overall quality of life. Yoga will incorporate mat and chair work. The balance class will address the nervous system, vestibular system, and proprioception using dynamic and static balance exercises like standing on one foot or rotating while in a split stance. Pilates will be specifically geared towards the older generation and functional fitness will also address how to fall properly—because it is a reflex and there are different ways to fall to prevent injuries, Sullivan tells me.
“Many of the people I see have never done any type of fitness before, they’re only getting into it because their doctors are prescribing it,” she explains. “We need to reconsider how we approach this demographic by looking at them as active agers as opposed to soft and frail.” After all, it’s truly never too late to start exercising. According to a recent study published in the JAMA Network Open, comparing the leisure-time activity of adults at four different points in their lives, those who started exercising later in their life still saw the same benefits as those who had been exercising their entire life.
So that goes without saying, it’s probably a good idea to enjoy those benefits sooner rather than later but if you need a good place to start—this fitness week might just be the thing for you.
$10, March 18-March 22, class times vary, Beacon Hill Village, 74 Joy Street, 617-723-9713, beaconhillvillage.org.
Source URL: https://www.bostonmagazine.com/health/2019/03/14/senior-fitness-boston/
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