Falls due to weakness or poor balance can lead to injuries and subsequent complications, resulting in serious health concerns. Research indicates that improved strength, balance and stamina can reduce fall risks.
The benefits of improved fitness among seniors is the driving force behind Elderwood’s Right Moves program. With the opportunity to improve health and independence, the program is offered at Elderwood Village at Greece and Elderwood Village at Fairport. Right Moves uses senior fitness specialists certified through the American Council on Exercise.
Participants must obtain written permission from their physician and complete a senior fitness test before starting the program. The first mobility assessment evaluates how many times an individual can stand up from a seated position without pushing themselves up by using their arms.
“Lacking the strength in the lower body to do this is a big red flag that a person is at risk for falling,” said Steven Johnson, wellness coordinator.
Residents enrolled in the program attend three times a week, with classes rotating between lower and upper body strength training, cardio, and relaxed stretching.
“It’s important to do anything to strengthen the muscles of the legs,” Johnson said. “Rising up on your toes, squats and lunges are good exercises that use body weight. Walking will help to strengthen the legs and it is also a good exercise for stamina.”
“We’ve already seen benefits, including fewer injuries and measurable mobility improvements amongst participants,” said Bridget Keenan, administrator at Elderwood Village at Greece.
Residents are encouraged not to do anything they aren’t comfortable doing or find painful. They are encouraged to try their best to stay within their pain-free range of motion.
“We want to help them maintain mobility and prevent falls, so they may age in place at our assisted living facilities,” Johnson said.
Progress is monitored by quarterly follow-up fitness tests.