As sure as the sun rises and shines each day on Sunshine Retirement Living communities from coast to coast, our activity directors keep finding new ways to make sure our residents stay active and healthy.
According to the Center for Disease Control, regular physical activity for adults over 75:
With all of those benefits, it’s no wonder Brenda Olivarez, Activity Director of Garden Way Retirement Community in Eugene, Oregon, offers at least one organized exercise activity every day and leads many of them herself. The weekly schedule includes Yoga, Better Bones & Balance, Chair Cardio and Chair Chi.
Wait a minute…Chairs? Can it still be exercise if you’re sitting in a chair?
“You bet it can,” says Olivarez. “You can still get plenty of exercise from constantly moving your arms and legs while getting the extra comfort and safety that a chair offers. In fact, after 20 minutes of Chair Cardio, most people are ready for a nice 10-minute cool down.”
“And many people who struggle with balance enjoy the improved flexibility they get from the gentle, easy movements of Chair Yoga and Chair Chi.”
Chair Chi is one of Garden Way’s newer and more popular activities these days. It’s a gentle exercise program designed to help people receive the benefits of traditional Tai Chi Chuan in the comfort and safety of a chair. It allows anyone who is unable to stand or has balance challenges (i.e. walker, wheelchair, movement disorder) to participate and enjoy better equilibrium, flexibility, range of motion, strength, energy, pain relief, tranquility and peace of mind.
“The benefits of Chair Chi are almost too good to be true,” says Olivarez. “It has also been known to improve the immune system, breathing capacity for people with asthma and emphysema, blood circulation, stress relief, relaxation for depression and insomnia, as well as hand, foot and eye coordination. They say it also increases cognitive awareness for dementia and Alzheimer’s.”
While not quite as easy to master as other movement exercises, Olivarez has noticed first-hand results for those who stay with it. Garden Way resident Jean Juza has had problems with tremors, lymphedema, arthritis and a handful of other health conditions. If it wasn’t for these classes, Olivarez claims there’s no doubt she would be much more progressed with her illnesses.
“The classes here are excellent for people my age and older,” says Juza. “I enjoy them all immensely and they’ve helped keep me independent with my different health conditions.”
Like a wonder drug with absolutely no side effects, places like Garden Way are seeing a strong attraction to movement activities like Chair Chi and Chair Yoga. Which goes to show that sometimes it’s okay to take your health problems sitting down.