What the YMCA Offers Seniors

This is a guest post by Kelsey Clark.

Recently I’ve been thinking about getting back into a serious exercise routine again. Like many people I have started and stopped many times in my life. Something comes up in life that prevents us from going for a week or two and then we just give up. I was made aware of my local YMCA and their programs through my mother who is now seventy six years old.

seniors dancing

The YMCA Silver Sneakers Program

As part of Medicare and her supplemental insurance she can be a member of the YMCA for free. It’s called Silver Sneakers; it’s a preventative exercise program to improve  the quality of life for mature adults all across the country. I found out that it’s one of the largest senior-focused exercise programs in the United States.

If you are a beginner or starting over, they start you out by doing evaluations on your health and finding out what your fitness level is. If you have any serious health issues they require a letter from your doctor stating the condition of your health and any limitations he recommends. They work up an exercise plan for you and put you on a circuit that includes cardiovascular and muscle building, along with stretching exercises.

Monitoring Your Progress

The YMCA that my mother attends has an electronic exercise tracking log system, they give you your own code and at the end of each session you input what you accomplished that day. Your personal counselor, generally the one who did the initial evaluations, keeps track and sends you encouraging messages via the tracking system or by mail. They do their best without being overbearing to keep you encouraged and on target.

Using the Exercise Equipment

After you’ve gotten yourself going and advanced past the beginning program (it is not mandatory to leave beginners, you can stay there if you’d like) they have personal trainers on staff that will help you make the transition to the main circuit of exercise machines and cardiovascular equipment. They can check out your Body Mass Index (BMI), which is a number calculated from a person’s weight and height. BMI provides a reliable indicator of body fatness for most people and is used to screen for weight categories that may lead to health problems.

They can then let you know what you need to work on and help you to get set up with a routine to work towards your goals. They work really hard to get you into a personal exercise routine with your particular interests and needs in mind. You can also hire a personal trainer to work with you once or several times a week. The cost depends on the trainer. You would need to check with the individual for prices.

Varying Your Routine

You can have variety in your workouts; they don’t always have to be on the circuit or in the cardio room. They have many programs to fit everyone’s needs. They really encourage you and help you find what works for you. They offer a variety of classes and most are free with your membership. For some classes a small fee is required. There are group exercise programs if you like working out with your friends or making new friends. They offer low impact cardio, strength cardio, yoga, cycle/spin classes, flexibility and a whole lot more. They also have water exercise which is a great way to workout without impact or harmful effects to your joints and muscles. They offer both indoor pools and outdoor pools during the summers.

The 50 Moving Forward Program

There is also a program for those of us in our 50’s and older. It’s called 50 Moving Forward. It’s geared for those individuals that are busy with work, home, and community, which leaves them with little time to focus on their own health. They describe the program as one that teaches you how even small differences in lifestyle choices can have positive health benefits. This program offers weekly assessments to help form and keep healthier habits.

The YMCA Older Adult fitness programs include water exercise, yoga, stretching classes, and walking clubs. They offer land and water aerobics. They also have adult sports where you can become part of a team. These include basketball, volleyball, dodge ball, and racquetball. I believe these require a participation fee.

Most of the YMCAs offer social, educational, and recreational opportunities for seniors as well. I’ve seen a variety of activities on the calendar including a book club, a bridge club, and a lunch club. They have senior field trips, holiday and birthday parties, bible studies, and there are also volunteer opportunities.

Diabetes Prevention Program

Under the educational umbrella they offer a Diabetes Prevention Program. It’s a program developed to reduce the risk of diabetes in individuals who have pre-diabetic symptoms. They cover nutrition, physical activity and behavior modification to encourage participants to achieve two main goals which are to reduce body weight by 7% and engage in regular physical activity. The program guides participants in ways to eat healthy while eating out, manage stress, and stay motivated when the program is complete. From time to time they also offer wellness checkups for things like blood pressure and cholesterol as a service to their members.

Something for Everyone

There are so many fantastic opportunities for seniors as well as for all other age groups at the YMCA. It’s a wonderful chance for all seniors, from 50 years and up, and it’s one that should not be missed.  It is a great way to keep active physically, mentally, and socially. For some seniors that don’t have their family close by, this will give a sense of belonging, and provide a safe, enjoyable place to meet people. It can also help to regain self-worth by learning skills and helping others. What a great organization and for most seniors it is right in their own neighborhood. No one should miss this rewarding opportunity.

Author Bio: Kelsey Clark is a professional writer and the editor in chief for http://www.findananny.net/. She loves to write articles and offer ideas that parents & nannies would be interested in hearing. She helps society by giving information about nannies and nanny services.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Old Shoe Woman via photo pin cc

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