Proper Exercise Is Important For Seniors’ Health | News

ASHTABULA — Senior fitness can range from chair aerobics to full marathons.

Many septuagenarians in the area, and at least one 91-year-old, regularly run road races, and many ride their bikes for more than 50 miles a day.

Most seniors need to stay in shape to avoid injuries, maintain muscle mass and cardiovascular fitness. Starting slow is key, said Bonnie Konczal, fitness coordinator for the Ashtabula County YMCA.
“I always urge my seniors to start slow with no weights or resistance the first week. In week two, we started adding endurance and strength challenges. We encourage frequent breaks for the first few weeks. … We always have chairs if they choose to sit rather than stand,” said Konczal.

If a senior is recovering from surgery or a major medical event, they will complete rehabilitation with a physician and may join a class if they wish.

“They are welcome to join any senior class and only do what their body allows them to do,” Konczal said.

Preventing falls is an important goal, according to Konczal.

“I take my job very seriously, and if I can keep just one senior citizen from falling, that’s great! So we work on core strength, flexibility and balance for all seniors,” she said.

Premiere Fitness also caters to the fitness needs of seniors.

“We offer Silver Sneakers,” said June Parmarter, director of Wellness Initiatives at Ashtabula County Medical Center. She said the program is for people age 65 and older with Medicare plans that help keep them active.

“We offer a variety of classes that are included in membership,” Parmarter said.
The ACMC Community Connection Fair is scheduled for Friday from 12:30 pm to 3:00 pm at the ACMC Health and Wellness Plaza. The event includes educational materials about community resources and free health screenings.

Parmarter said members received a fitness assessment completed in a Visual Fitness Planner (software). It is designed to help people obtain a health risk profile that can help predict heart disease, diabetes, cancer and stroke, and ways to help people minimize their risk.

Senior Fitness Day is scheduled for May 31, with seniors getting free classes and health screenings.

“The most important thing for anyone to remember when focusing on their wellness is to speak with their physician before starting any new exercise or wellness program,” Parmarter said.

She said creating attainable goals can be helpful.

“It’s important to have a goal and be accountable for achieving it,” Parmarter said.

Ben Meola, a cardiology nurse at the ACMC, said rehabilitation from open-heart surgery begins in the hospital with an assessment by a physical therapist.

Meola said the next step is in an outpatient setting, where education, strength and conditioning are emphasized, which could help reduce repeat hospitalizations by 75%.

A final phase involves maintenance and takes place on an outpatient basis, Meola said.

He said that ACMC provides the second and third phase of recovery assistance.

Proper Exercise Is Important For Seniors’ Health | News

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