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Seniors Get Their Kicks on Summer Wellness Tip

I’ve been stirring some social media interest surrounding an article I Tweeted last week on the SilverSneakers® Fitness Program, an innovative exercise and wellness program that promotes fit lifestyles. The Arizona City Independent reports a particularly active program is kicking at the state’s Tri-Valley Fitness Center, where accredited instructors are helping seniors make the most of their golden years.

The award-winning SilverSneakers finds a niche in regions where older populations are choosing to retire. In Arizona, for example, many health plans cover the program, including HealthNet of Arizona, Health Choice and AARP Medicare Supplement, to name a few. And that’s just for starters. States across the country are recognizing the value of continued physical activity as more people enter their senior years.

As a companion service and provider of in-home care, FirstLight has always recognized the importance of maintaining an active lifestyle to ensure longevity. SilverSneakers, for example, offers specially designed classes, as well as health education seminars along with a specially trained Senior AdvisorSM to help introduce participants to the program.

Of course before starting any wellness or exercise program, it’s important to ask the right questions. As a care provider, if you are working with someone who has been inactive for some time, it’s important to seek professional medical advice before engaging in rigorous activities—especially if the older adult is at a high risk for heart disease.

What are some other important questions to raise to the older individual your life looking to get started? Consider a few of these important topics:

Do I need to do vigorous exercise?
You may not need to go all-out after all. It is actually possible to lower your health risks by doing moderate-level activities. If you are caring for someone who wants to attain a high level of cardiovascular fitness, gradually work up to exercising on most days of the week for 30 to 60 minutes at 50 to 80 percent of maximum capacity.

Do women get the same benefits from exercise as men?

Surprisingly, some studies indicate that women may benefit even more than men from being physically fit. Early indications show that physically fit women enjoy even greater reduced rates of death from heart disease than men. That’s great news on the wellness front!

For more great questions and answers, check out the Arizona City Independent piece linked above—as well as some great educational websites provided after the article. And while exercise is always important, it’s also important to keep your loved ones cool during the recent heat waves on the East Coast and beyond. Be smart, safe and well through the summer months!

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