It’s no secret physical fitness is essential to a healthy routine. This is especially true as we age. According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA), regular exercise can have a profound impact on the overall well-being of seniors. It can help improve energy and mood, provide a range of health and wellness benefits, and allow older adults to maintain the quality of life they’re used to living.
So what can you do to remain fit and active as you get older? One of the leading philosophies today is called “functional fitness.” Functional fitness is an exercise program that strengthens the muscles most used for regular day-to-day activities. This helps older adults better perform their daily activities and routines, such as getting in and out of the car or doing the laundry, with confidence.
By employing simple routines and exercises, functional fitness helps train the muscles and brain in areas such as flexibility, strength, balance, and endurance. Activities that stimulate different kinds of everyday movement, like standing, reaching and switching directions are beneficial and essential for continued strength and energy as you age. Exercises such as walking and jogging can increase endurance, and the simple act of standing on one foot can help improve balance.
While functional fitness continues to carve out a niche within the greater fitness industry, the concept is already being championed by some senior living communities. Vi, a Life Plan Community, offers residents beneficial fitness programs and activities to meet a range of interests. Jolene Moore, corporate director of lifestyle at Vi, cites Vi’s Living Well philosophy as a way to nurture the mind, body and spirit of every resident. One of the keys to that is physical fitness. “Our functional fitness programs inspire our residents to maintain their quality of life by being active,” says Moore. “Improved strength and mobility can greatly reduce the risk of falls and household accidents.”
While part of functional fitness means being able to perform daily activities like bending down to unload the dishwasher or maintaining balance to change a lightbulb, the benefits of functional fitness extend well beyond the household. Functional fitness also allows you to continue to do the things you enjoy, like hiking in the woods, driving to visit family, or simply holding your grandchildren confidently and comfortably.
Vi’s personal fitness trainers specialize in functional fitness, and their programs are tailored to individual residents and their lifestyle and fitness goals. By adopting functional fitness programs, senior living communities like Vi have made it easier for today’s seniors to live the life they’re accustomed to well into their older years. “Our residents want continue to do the things they enjoy,” says Moore, “and we’re here to help them do that.”