Keeping fit, staying independentIt’s not exactly pumping iron, but the group gathered for a workout Monday morning at Spruce Place senior apartments are at the very least stretching some serious rubber.
By: Nathan Hansen, The Farmington Independent
It’s not exactly pumping iron, but the group gathered for a workout Monday morning at Spruce Place senior apartments are at the very least stretching some serious rubber.
It’s a small group on this particular morning. Spruce Place residents Lou Walter and Joan Fritchman are the only ones to show up for the session offered every other week by HealthPro Chiropractic doctor Eric Rice. Rice leads the women through exercises that include pulling at stretchy bands looped under a chair, or doing push-ups against the wall.
Rice started holding the senior exercise classes at Apple Valley’s Timbers while he was still student at chiropractic college. When he and finance Krystal Alto opened HealthPro Farmington in April they started offering the bi-weekly classes at Spruce Place and at nearby Red Oak Manor. The classes are a way to help seniors maintain strength and mobility and to keep their minds fresher. Rice said a steady exercise regimen can help seniors add as much as 10 years of independent living.
“It’s one of the easiest things the elderly can do,” Rice said. “We’re working muscles that are overstretched and not worked too much.”
The exercises won’t create new bodybuilders, but they’re designed to strengthen the muscles most important to seniors as they age. Squats will help with getting up from a chair. Exercises done on balance discs help strengthen core muscles to prevent falls. Rice ends each session with yoga stretches.
There are other benefits, too. The classes are a good place for new residents to come meet some of their neighbors, and Rice said there’s a benefit from just getting out and talking to people every once in a while.
“Sometimes we get a little too chatty, but that does them just as much good,” Rice said.
The most noticeable benefits are physical, though. And they can come quickly. Fritchman started attending the class two months ago and is already seeing results.
“I feel as though it’s toned up some of my muscles,” she said. “I feel more firm, especially in my sides and my legs. I’ve lost quite a bit of weight.”
Everyone who participates gets a printout of exercises they can do on their own.
Rice said he’s seen the exercises make a big difference for some of the people he’s worked with.
“It’s rewarding when you see someone who used to come in with a walker or a cane just walk to the class,” he said. “That’s why we do it.”
The HealthPro class certainly isn’t the only option for seniors looking for some exercise. Walter attended Monday’s class after her regular workout at Curves, and America’s Fitness Center offers a Silver Sneakers program for seniors.
There are several options at the Rambling River Center, the city of Farmington’s senior center. A fitness room at the center is well used and in 2010 the center will start offering personal training services. A year-old morning yoga class has been popular, and the center will offer an evening class starting in January.