The Van Wert County Courthouse

Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022

YMCA offers SilverSneakers for seniors

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The healthiest things area residents can do for themselves are to exercise regularly and lead an active lifestyle: The physical, emotional and spiritual benefits have turned even the most rooted couch potatoes into believers!

For those not inclined to self-motivate when it comes to breaking a sweat (you know who you are) and even those who never miss a workout, a fitness club membership is a great way to stay on track. And it can make an exercise program even more enriching.

From swimming pools and low-impact cardio equipment to classes designed specifically for older adults, fitness clubs are full of variety and camaraderie, and they’re not just for the 20-somethings anymore.

SilverSneakers logo 3-2015Nothing will sink a workout routine faster than people forcing themselves to do a workout they dread. Fitness centers are full of diverse ways to burn calories and build muscle. From cardio and weight machines that let people watch TV while they exercise to group classes like yoga, swimming, dancing, and cycling. Using different machines and varying a workout also helps people work more muscles, which improves results and the quality of workouts.

Fitness centers are usually full of people. Some love to exercise and others drag themselves there for all the right reasons. Being surrounded by other people in the same boat can inspire people to work harder, try new equipment, and to keep coming back. And fitness professionals are on-hand to answer questions, help those working out to learn to use equipment properly, and show them how to perform exercises safely.

Most fitness centers open early and close late, so even the busiest early birds and night owls can fit in a workout. Bad weather = no workout? Nope! Snow and ice, thunder and lightning, negative wind chills, or triple digits; no matter what extreme weather wrecks an outdoor workout, conditions are always perfect inside the fitness center. And maintaining consistency will ensure people sustain their results and healthy habits, rain or shine.

Attending group classes is another great way to switch up a routine and to meet new people. Many fitness centers offer SilverSneakers classes designed specifically for adults of all fitness levels. Classes range from cardio and strengthening to yoga and water-based exercise, and many groups organize social events outside of class. Before participants know it, they’ll actually be looking forward to taking classes with their new friends

People need people! Being socially active boosts a person’s emotional health, cognitive function, and immune system, and it can help people live longer. And if they socialize at the fitness center, they’ll improve their physical health while they’re at it. Making friends at the gym can also motivate people to get there and enrich their life outside of the gym.

Many people are awesome at starting an exercise program, but actually sticking to the program is easier said than done. Boredom, lack of motivation, temptation, distractions, doubt, fear, laziness, too busy, not seeing results, the television set. There are a lot of reasons (and excuses) people have for skipping their workouts, and a fitness membership can be an effective way to debunk them all.

One study from Indiana University found that about 43 percent of people who start a workout program alone drop out, but that number drops to 6 percent among people who exercise with partners. Workout partners will help you show up!

Sometimes a fitness membership is more than a pass into the gym. SilverSneakers includes health club membership at no cost to the member. Participants can meet other SilverSneakers members (and potential hiking, golfing, or tennis buddies, if that’s more their style) at organized social events and on Facebook. Before people know it, their workout buddies will become their new gardening or card club, too.

The list of benefits associated with regular physical and social activity goes on and on: Build strength and increase flexibility; reduce the risk of depression and many other chronic diseases; strengthen bones; prevent falls; increase life expectancy; prolong independence; enjoy day-to-day activities more, make new friends.

But participants can’t revel in the benefits of regular exercise unless they exercise regularly.

So, why does all of this matter? Because regular physical and social activity leads to a higher quality of life and, for some people, a fitness center is the right place to find both. Yes, people can get fit and healthy without a gym membership, but it might just make it a little more fun.

Let the YMCA of Van Wert County be area residents’ “fitness home”. The YMCA offers seniors land and water classes, chair yoga, monthly luncheons, game days, and more. For more information on the SilverSneakers program, classes or eligibility, contact Kristin Lichtensteiger, YMCA membership director, at 419.238.0443.

POSTED: 03/24/17 at 7:31 am. FILED UNDER: Lifestyles, Sports