Trisha Bolthouse, Vice President, HUR | May 19, 2018
Each May, the Administration for Community Living (ACL) celebrates Older Americans Month as a way of recognizing older Americans for their contributions to our communities, our nation, and our world.
This year’s theme is Engage at Every Age, and sends the message that none of us is ever too old (or young!) to live a full, active life.
At HUR, this is not only a message we can get behind, it’s our entire focus. As the leading provider of strength training equipment specifically engineered for older adults, we know that strength is ageless. But – and this is a big but – only if we work at it.
Losing muscle mass is a natural part of aging. If left unchecked, too little muscle and too much fat can wreak havoc on our bodies, leading to obesity, osteoporosis, diabetes, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, low back pain, and even cancer.
But, (there’s that word again), regular resistance training reverses muscle loss and supports active aging in remarkable ways. Resistance training rebuilds muscle, recharges metabolism, reduces resting blood pressure, supports cardiovascular health, increases bone density, improves cognitive functioning, and combats disease – no matter what your age.
So, the ACL’s message for this year’s Older Americans Month that it’s possible to engage at every age, resonates strongly with us.
We know that the message resonates strongly with Walker Methodist as well.
Since 2010, Walker Methodist has equipped their fitness centers with HUR Strength Training equipment. Aaron Aslakson, the Walker Methodist Director of Wellness Centers, explained that the decision to choose HUR was made for three primary reasons:
Whatever your age, there’s no better time than NOW to support your health and wellbeing with regular physical activity.
There are three categories of exercise that are particularly important for older adults who want to remain healthy, active and independent for as long as possible. When seniors engage in a training plan that includes exercises from each of these three categories, their bodies are better equipped to fight illness and disease, and avoid injury.
Regardless of how healthy you are or how great your genetic predisposition is, muscle deterioration is simply a fact of aging. That’s why resistance training is particularly important for older adults. If you don’t use it, you lose it.
Resistance training builds strength by making the muscles work against a weight or force. Engaging in resistance training at least 3 times a week can improve muscle strength and tone, protect joints from injury, help maintain flexibility and balance, support weight management, reduce cognitive decline, assist with pain management, improve mobility, help you get a better night’s sleep, and most importantly – help you stay active and independent for as long as possible.
Inside our ears, there is a remarkable balance epicenter called the vestibular system that helps us know where we are in space at any given point in time and directly connects to the parts of the brain that controls our ability to maintain balance.
In other words, the vestibular system helps us remaining upright. As we age, vestibular system cells begin to die off, slowing our reaction time and making it more difficult to respond to the threat of a fall. Health problems such as arthritis, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease can further weaken our aptitude for good balance, increasing the risk of falling.
Since falls are the leading cause of injury and death for older Americans, balance training is extremely important, especially in combination with resistance training. The combination of building strength and improving balance can significantly reduce the risk of falling, improve mobility, and support daily activities that keep us independent and able to do the things we love.
Aging is simply the natural process of accelerated cell death that causes damage to the body. This process can increase the risk of a variety of health problems – problems we are better equipped to deal with if physically fit. Cardio exercise is a vital part of overall fitness, combating illnesses such as hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and the presence of free radicals in the blood stream.
Regular cardio exercise can strengthen your heart and lungs, give you more energy, improve cognitive ability, support weight management, and even reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
There are two types of cardio exercise, each of which is valuable for different reasons. Aerobic Exercises are those activities that speed up your breathing and heartbeat. Aerobic means “with oxygen” and includes activities such as walking, running, climbing stairs, cycling, swimming, or dancing.
Anaerobic Exercises are short exertion, high-intensity activities that require quick bursts of energy and the natural tendency to quickly breath out. Anaerobic means, “without oxygen”, and include things like lifting heavy weights, sprinting, or jumping.
We applaud all that Walker Methodist does in each of their communities to support the health and wellness of seniors. In addition to Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care, Transitional care, and Long-Term Care programs, Walker Methodist operates fitness centers in 5 different cities that are open to the public and equipped with HUR strength training equipment.
No matter where you are in your life, there is no better time to take care of your health than now. Join us in a commitment to Engage at Every Age!