Senior Viewpoint: Find Your Favorite Fitness

senior fitness, UP seniors favorite exercise, UP wellness publication, UP holistic business

You’ve likely heard about the benefits of exercise repeatedly by now—“Use it or lose it.” “The best medicine is exercise.” “The key to quality longevity is…. (you guessed it! ) exercise.” And who wouldn’t want to live longer or better? Yet according to the National Center for Health Statistics’ most recent study, only 15.3% of men over 65 met 2018 physical activity guidelines, and just 10.8% of women.

But the “fun factor” is key to your success. If you’re dragging yourself to do something you don’t enjoy, you’re unlikely to stick with it or feel encouraged to do more. So, we asked UP seniors to share what type of exercise they enjoy most and why.

Marquette resident Elizabeth Bates says her favorite is cross-country skiing “because it’s outdoors, rhythmic, and pain-free. I love being out in the beautiful winter landscape.”

Retired nurse Kay Mitchell also enjoys the outdoors and is part of the Wednesday Wanderers hiking group.

She explains, “We hike all over the place every Wednesday year-round. It’s a wonderful group of people. It’s just great to be outside in the woods, exploring new or old trails. We get to catch up with each other’s lives, and take turns leading the hike.”

Kay also likes going to the Marquette Senior Center’s Hi-Low Fitness group. “My favorite teacher, Lynn Johnson, does a great cardio workout. It just makes you feel so good…. you get to see all your friends…. They use music and do routines. It’s just fun.”

“I love to do anything that gets me moving,” says Karen Blake of Marquette. “If I can do a flight of stairs in an office building, or tai chi, or just do some stretches at home. I’d like to get back to horseback riding but I haven’t found the right situation yet.”

Retired doctor Peter Zenti also spoke of tai chi.

“When you’re doing some of the tai chi poses and balancing on one foot, that helps when you go out on icy sidewalks.”

Peter enjoys beginner pickleball at Marquette’s Senior Center too. He says, “The main thing we do is laugh—when you swing and totally miss the ball…. when you can’t remember what the score is, and someone else can’t remember…. It’s awesome!” Peter also notes how very helpful and welcoming the group is to new participants.

Former history professor Jon Saari answers, “I like exercise that is a little bit unpredictable, that doesn’t just follow a fixed routine.” Maria Formolo’s tai chi class at the Marquette Senior Center is a favorite of his because unlike most, it includes free exercise and “it’s slow and is adaptive to where your body is at that day.”

Jon also enjoys a new class at NMU called Asahi. He explains, “It’s simplified these many forms (of tai chi) down to a basic one. It’s been tested and found to exercise the whole range of the body’s muscles.”

Former dance studio owner Dawn Dott’s favorite type of exercise is now water aerobics.

She says, “When my body’s submerged in water it’s more buoyant…. I experience less wear and tear on my joints and muscles…. I can work harder and longer than I can on land.”

She adds, “I find it easier to balance in the water…. I feel less stress and anxiety after a water workout, especially when the class has included music. It improves my mood and ultimately, my outlook. It’s a blessing to be part of a kind and fun-loving (water aerobics) group.”

Avid folk dancer Bob Miller also appreciates the social aspect of group exercise. He explains, “I don’t like just dancing alone. Interacting with others is enjoyable.“ Bob also says, “When the music’s going, I feel like I could dance five miles when I couldn’t run one. Rather than getting tired dancing, I feel like I gain energy from it and the music.”

So join in the fun and find (or continue) your favorite form of exercise!

Excerpted from the Spring 2023 issue of Health & Happiness U.P. Magazine. Copyright 2023, Empowering Lightworks, LLC. All rights reserved.

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