Sunday, April 19, 2009

Exercising For Seniors

Ok……Here’s a potential controversial subject for us old timers.

We all KNOW we should exercise. We are FOR it. We want our FAMILY members to do it. We’ll feel better AFTER we do it. Etc.

But, starting it - and continuing it if we do - is another matter.

From time to time, “down through the years”, (Does that sound like me, or what?), I’ve done “push-ups”, “sit-ups”, “body twists”, etc. One time, maybe ten or more years ago, I did “push-ups” often enough to finally reach 100 of them at one time. I must add, however, that my Grandson Jimmy - who did them in the Army - said I was cheating, since I didn’t go clear down almost to the floor after each push. I just figured that if I bent my elbows, then straightened them again and lifting my body, it was a “push-up”. At any rate, cheating or not, my arms were worn out after 100 of whatever I was doing. Even at my age 10 years ago, just pushing my body up and down with my arms 100 times was a “miracle” to me.

If we live by ourselves, it’s ESPECIALLY hard to start exercising - and continuing. We need motivation.

Family members can help in that, by suggesting: “Better walk again today, Dad.” “Keep up the exercising, Grandpa!” “Did you do any push-ups today, Myron?”

Or, if you live in a Senior Citizens facility, they might have a regular exercise program involving several other “procrastinators”.

Interesting that I should mention that. We DO have an exercise program here at The Grand Court Assisted Living Facility. (So far, I don’t really need the “Assisted” part, but undoubtedly I will, eventually.)

The program is offered 5 days a week, at 10AM, for a half hour. Since I’ve been here, I’ve seen from 5 to 15 participants.

Timi Neff, our “Lifestyle Program Director” coordinates these and other Activities at this Facility. She leads the Exercising, called “Grand Court Energisers”. I just noticed that on this month’s Calendar, it’s called “Movement is Medicine” also.

These are not “heavy lifting” exercises. They’re not designed to build up muscles. They merely keep our bodies “tuned up”, and assist in “keeping our blood flowing”.

(If you "double-click" on this picture, you can see the white shirt guy in the middle is me. This is "evidence", and "proof".)

These “body parts” are affected: Arms, legs, fingers, back, feet, neck, shoulders, and any other “movement” muscles. We even exercise our faces, by over-emphasizing the sounds of the vowels.

I can tell when a particular exercise is helpful to me at that time, by the “grunt” or “groan” I emit when I do it.

After Timi takes us through the exercises she wants to emphasize that day, she asks each of of us to suggest one, and then we ALL do it - whatever is suggested.

An important part of it is breathing while exercising, and then at the end, the “cool down” procedure. That comprises our massaging our foreheads, temples, cheeks, jaws, chins, neck, arms, and then, reaching clear down to our feet on the floor.

(I'm the white shirt on the right.)

As an incentive for us, Timi has posted a “Rogue’s Gallery” list (not her designation, but mine), that lists all of our names, and a record of the days we have “showed up”. I was told that I would receive a “Grand Court Energisers” T shirt for attending 20 sessions. By now, it’s 27, I think. I’ve only missed four since I’ve been here - 3 when I helped at WEEC’s SHARATHON, and another for personal reasons.

I guess I “feel better” after all of these sessions - at least my muscles, legs and arms move smoothly. The long term (accumulative) benefit is what I appreciate.

I’m always reminded of the Scripture that says “Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ?” I Cor. 6:15. And, “glorify God in your body” I Cor. 6:20.

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