Looking for a reason to stay fit? Studies show that regular exercise improves memory, thinking skills, flexibility, strength and balance — all of which are key to keeping seniors healthy and independent. There are plenty of options for seniors looking to step up their fitness game and local experts weigh in on how to get started.
“Before seniors or anyone starts a new fitness routine, we recommend that they consult their physician to make sure they are healthy enough to start a program,” said James Wilson, general manager at Fit Republic in Brentwood.
After consulting your physician and getting the green light, Wilson recommends incorporating resistance training and cardio into a fitness routine. Resistance training helps to build muscles and keep bones healthy.
“Resistance training is easier on joints than weightlifting, and consists of isolated, functional movements with added resistance,” said Wilson. “This helps to retain and add muscle mass.”
Besides getting advice from your doctor, fitness trainers can also help members create a personalized training program.
“It is highly encouraged that members meet with a trainer prior to any fitness routine at our club,” said Brandon Lim, fitness director at Diamond Hills Sports Club in Oakley. “We can assist in finding the best approach to each person’s fitness journey and recommend classes.”
Group exercise classes are a great way for seniors to stay fit, and they offer additional benefits. Lim recommends seniors try aquatic classes because they are easiest on the joints and are low impact.
Delta Valley Health Club (DVHC) in Brentwood offers over 50 group classes per week that can all be tailored to accommodate seniors.
“Group exercise classes are a great social activity, especially for seniors,” said Sandy McCaslin, DVHC’s chief operating officer. “Studies show more and more seniors need social engagement, and classes encourage people to meet someone new.”
If you’re having a hard time sticking to a regular workout routine, McCaslin recommends working out with a friend.
“Many of our members report working out with a buddy is fun and keeps them accountable,” said McCaslin.“Just knowing you are accountable to show up makes a huge difference and is more motivating.”
Yoga is also a great option for seniors looking to try something new.
“Yoga can offer a wide array of health benefits for seniors,” said Stacia McConnell, owner of Bliss Hot Yoga in Antioch. “It can help with balance, stability, improve flexibility and joint health. Yoga can also reduce high blood pressure and help with reducing anxiety.”
Regardless of what type of fitness routine you choose, it’s important to remember that it’s never too late to get started.
“You’re never too old to get moving and improve your health,” said McCaslin. “We encourage members to start with gentle activities and build up from there.”
Fit Republic is located at 2490 Sand Creek Road, in Brentwood. For more information, visit www.fitrepublic.com or call 925-230-0966. Diamond Hills Sports Club is located at 1510 Neroly Road, in Oakley. For more information visit www.sparetimesportsclubs.com or call 925-420-4575. Delta Valley Health Club is located at 120 Guthrie Ln., in Brentwood. For more information, visit www.deltavac.com. Bliss Hot Yoga is located at 5865 Lone Tree Way, Suite L, in Antioch. For more information, visit www.bliss-hotyoga.com or call 925-732-7803.