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How to Find a Gym for Seniors

How to Find a Gym for Seniors

Medical Care Alert on Feb 27th 2024

Exercise is essential for everyone, from growing children to older adults. Many people understand that exercise can positively affect their mental and physical health. However, those starting their exercise journey may find it challenging to integrate a workout routine into their everyday schedule. Thankfully, finding a gym for seniors can be simple, and many fitness centers offer classes or programs to guide beginners into their new routines.

This handy guide will lay out how to find an older adult gym and why creating a balanced routine for your happiness and health is important.

Benefits of Exercise for Older Adults

Although most people would agree that exercise is good for you, not everyone understands the significant benefits of movement for your physical and mental health. Exercise is crucial for healthy aging. For older adults, physical activity can promote a more independent lifestyle and empower them to stay home longer while improving or combatting health conditions. Seniors can experience benefits such as the following from exercising:

  • Maintaining or reducing weight: Maintaining a healthy weight can decrease risks for health conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, anemia or osteoporosis. However, it can be challenging to maintain weight as you get older. Your metabolism may slow down, making it harder to build muscle or burn calories. Some older adults also experience unintentional weight loss. Either way, seniors can combat weight fluctuations and drastic changes by getting movement.
  • Enhancing independence: Many seniors face mobility challenges that result in needing assistance to complete daily tasks such as dressing, bathing, eating or using the bathroom. Seniors looking to take charge of their routines can exercise to enhance their mobility, empowering them to remain independent for longer periods.
  • Boosting mood and cognitive abilities: Physical activity also has mental health benefits like improving cognitive functions and boosting mood. Seniors who exercise regularly may feel happier and experience fewer symptoms of stress or depression. Exercise can also prevent cognitive decline and improve functions regarding visual space, memory, language, judgment, calculation and understanding.
  • Improving sleep habits: Quality sleep is essential for your body and mind. Seniors who do not get a good night's sleep could experience issues such as irritability, depression, memory problems or physical concerns that lead to accidents. Moderate exercise can improve sleep habits by reducing the time it takes to fall asleep and how much time you spend awake at night. Physical activity can even reduce daytime sleepiness and decrease the need for sleep medications for some people. 

What to Consider When Looking for a Senior Gym

Finding the right gym is a crucial part of your fitness journey. You want to feel comfortable at the gym and confident that you can access the equipment and support you need to feel your best. Thankfully, finding the right gym can be easy.

1. Tour the Facility

Start by asking for a tour of the facility. Both people with experience with some machines and those stepping into the gym for the first time can feel confused about new equipment or workout spaces. Ask someone to walk you through the facility and show you where essential items and stations are.

As you walk around, note what other people are doing and who is in the gym. Are there other seniors? Do you understand how to use most machines or know what to do if you're confused? Does the staff seem friendly and eager to help you? These questions are a great starting point to determine whether a gym will be the right fit for you.

2. Find Exercise Classes for Seniors

After the tour, consider whether you need or want help with your workouts. If you have little to no gym experience, requesting a training program or group classes can be beneficial. Rather than blindly choosing machines or equipment, working with a trainer or taking group classes can help you find the best exercises to address your concerns and ensure you know how to do them properly.

Be sure to ask for information about the types of activities in any classes you're considering to confirm that they're appropriate for your strength and mobility levels.

3. Understand the Machines and Your Body

Your tour may provide enough information to determine whether a fitness center is right for you. However, if you don't have gym experience, you may need more time to examine the machines and equipment before making a decision. It's important to understand how to adjust weights to meet your needs and access machines to help you reach your goals.

Check whether each machine has visible instructions for use or ask the staff where you can find more information if you need help down the road.

4. Consider if There's a Timeline

Regular physical activity is essential throughout your entire life, and a good workout program will provide ongoing instruction without an expiration date. If you're looking for a trainer or senior fitness classes, it's important to ensure you will have continuous access to the support you need. Some specific classes may end after a few weeks, but the facility you choose should offer new and continuous opportunities throughout the year so you don't go weeks without some instruction.

Having an ongoing commitment to staying active and the resources you need to do it are integral to establishing a routine that lasts even after individual classes end.

Creating a Balanced Exercise Routine

Whether you find an interesting program or club or want to take charge of your mobility independently, there are several types of exercise you should incorporate into your routine. It's best to participate in a variety of strength training and aerobic, flexibility and balance exercises to target various parts of your body for the most benefits. Fitness centers for seniors should empower you to add the following to your routine:

  • Strength: Weight lifting can strengthen muscles and help prevent some health conditions, such as reducing pain and stiffness from conditions like arthritis or osteoporosis. Gym weight and body weight are both suitable for these exercises.
  • Flexibility: Flexibility exercises work muscles that allow you to complete daily tasks like getting up from a chair and tying your shoes. Yoga classes can be a great option for older adults looking to improve flexibility.
  • Balance: Improving your balance can help you stay on your feet, reduce your risk of falls and boost your confidence when walking or standing. Yoga and Tai chi are excellent for improving balance, but you can also try a range of individual exercises like lunges and sit-to-stands.
  • Aerobic: Aerobic exercises target your lungs and heart by increasing your heart rate and breath intake. By strengthening the cardiovascular system, you can ward off illnesses, reduce health risks and manage some chronic conditions. Swimming, walking and dancing classes are all great ways to fit in a fun workout session.

Maintain Independence With Medical Care Alert

Aging is inevitable, but growing older doesn't have to mean losing your independence. At Medical Care Alert, you can find services geared toward helping older adults live independently and stay at home longer. We provide peace of mind and comfort to thousands of seniors and their families across the country. Connect with our team to learn more about what we can do for you.