By now, most seniors are aware that they’re among the most vulnerable demographic groups when it comes to contracting COVID-19.

A recent nationwide poll by Tivity health, a national provider of senior fitness & programs, such as Silver Sneakers, indicates many seniors are not getting the exercise they need to maintain optimal health.

Silver Sneakers, provides community fitness programs for older adults with free access to participating Health Clubs like Bodyplex Blue Ridge.

In the recent poll, 46% of adult & senior respondents said the pandemic is preventing them from attending in-person exercise classes at local gyms; 84% noted they will return within a month once attendance is deemed safe.

In light of such finding, & the overall impact of COVID-19, the world health organization, IHRSA has launch a Global Active & Fit commitment for Health Clubs around the word, ensuring Health Clubs who become certified are up to code on safety guidelines & cleaning protocols.

Exercise remains critical for seniors to maintain a healthy immune system able to fight off disease. Regular workouts can also increase balance & strength & help prevent falls. For seniors, falls are an all-too-common threat & crisis; John’s Hopkins University reports that 25% of adults 65+ fall, & 3 million are treated in emergency rooms each year for injuries caused by falls.

Seniors can feel a little safer now about starting back working out, which is extremely important during & post COVID-19. If you’re a senior wanting to start working out, here are some tips you can follow while practicing social distancing.

If you haven’t been exercising, you’ll want to ease into your new routine gradually. Studies indicate just 2 weeks of inactivity can decrease your muscle strength by 8% & raise inflammation & blood pressure. Do something that relaxes you. For example, getting outside & into nature can be a great way to start moving & prepare yourself for future exercise.

Even if you must set a timer to remind yourself, take frequent breaks from sitting & take part in activities that involve standing. Avoid being sedentary for long intervals of time. A good goal is 30-45 minutes a day at least 5 days a week. There’ll will be days when you don’t want to do it, but research shows that physical activity is good for your immune system. Whether it’s taking a walk, or riding a bike, find something you like to do and find a time every day that works for you; then it will becom a healthy habit.

In the Tivity poll, 44% of seniors said they’re motivated to return to their fitness center to socialize with friends. Socializing with people you care about can lower stress & be good for your immune system. Stephanie Betts, CPT, & Wellness Coach at Bodyplex Fitness in Blue Ridge says most Health Clubs have opened back up & provided more space for group classes in order to meet social distancing requirements & urges her members to participate in these small groups whenever possible to get the best mental and physical benefits.

Stephanie suggested basic workout plan:
(1) Warming up with a short walk
(2) Start with balance and stabilization exercises like a plank
(3) Then strength exercises like chair squats & wall push-ups
(4) Move on to light weightlifting or Machines when ready
(5) Last stretch and foam roll worked or sore muscles

Before attending your local gym, call and learn what they are doing to keep their members safe & to align with recommended CDC guidelines. Are they a IHRSA certified as an Active & Safe facility? Are they taking temperatures, sanitizing, and disinfecting properly on their own, or using a licensed company like GlanHealth and Patho-Clear? If your Health Club can answer yes to these questions you should feel a lot safer starting back going to the gym.

Health Clubs can be safe & are ready to help seniors fight diabetes, depression, obesity, hypertension, heart disease and more. Exercise can help you maintain optimal health during & after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Contact Bodyplex Blue Ridge to see if you qualify for a free membership under your current health plan
Stephanie Betts, NASAM CPT, Nutritional & Wellness Coach is married to Shane Betts, CPT, Corrective Exercise Specialist. Together they own Bodyplex Fitness in Blue Ridge. Bodyplex is an IHRSA Certified Active & Safe facility and has been awarded site sanitation certificates from Patho-Clear and Glan Health for their commitment to safety for members, guest, community, and staff. You can contact Shane and Stephanie at Bodyplex Blue Ridge by calling (706) 946-2639.