NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Doctors will tell you staying active is key to living a long happy life.
A group of seniors is finding that to be true at The St. Paul Senior Living Center where the weekly exercise class appears to be a fountain of youth.
A class of 20 to 30 seniors, most of them in their 80’s and 90’s, meets three times each week for a 30-minute session. They work on strength training for the tasks of everyday life.
“With this class, we’re trying to make sure they’re independent, functional, and they have more energy through the day,” says Adriana Hermel, the instructor and a certified personal trainer, who’s been working with this group for nine years.
She has the seniors simulate movements like getting up out of a chair or reaching for a box overhead, along with movements for flexibility, improving posture and maintaining balance.
“The important thing is trying to do it, trying to be active as much as possible so you don’t need to depend on others and you can do whatever you want in your life according to your age,” said Hermel.
The participants are seeing great results. One woman in the class is 95 years old. She’s been taking the class for 15 years and said it’s the reason she’s still walking. She said it’s the reason she’s still up and active.
Another woman named Lynn has noticed something different about the people who take the exercise class on a regular basis.
“I think this group is a much more active group throughout our environment here and we have fewer falls in this group,” she said.
Falls are a real concern with the CDC reporting one in four Americans over 65 fall every year, which can lead to injuries, made more severe with age.
Hermel said there are some simple things seniors can do at home to improve their overall function and ability. For instance, sitting down in a chair and standing back up is an excellent movement to build strength and ability.
“Use the armrests if you need to. Stand up, sit down, stand up, sit down,” she said. “Starting with sets of five, then building to 10 and increasing to 15. That’s perfect.”
She also recommends attaching rubber exercise bands to a door knob and pulling back for building back and shoulder strength and enhancing posture. She said it’s important to maintain straight alignment in the back throughout the exercise.