It’s a given that staying active is key to maintaining health and flexibility as one ages. Newton Village, an independent, assisted and skilled care facility in Newton, Iowa strives to help its residents remain active with its SeniorFit Wellness Program.
Newton Village Activities Director/Life Enrichment Coordinator Michele Jansen compares SeniorFit to the SilverSneakers fitness program for seniors.
“What our residents do is very similar,” Jansen said. Assisted living and Independent living residents get together three times a week for 45 minutes to exercise. “We also do it in our healthcare center twice a week for a half hour.”
Residents participate in chair exercises and those who can stand do standing exercises such as marching in place and stretching. “They use elastic stretchy band, some weights and exercise balls for stability and for flexibility in the hands,” said Jansen.
Newton’s SeniorFit Program has been going strong for eight years, and even has a group of residents dubbed the ‘Faithful Four’ who never miss an exercise session. “Our residents really enjoy it,” Jansen said. One resident who began participating in chair exercises after the program opened up to assisted living residents a few years ago, gave his own testimonial. “He said, ‘I can tell a difference when i get up from my chair; it’s a little bit easier,’” Jansen said.
The benefits are obvious. “It Improves muscle mass, flexibility and balance — all that stuff we kind of lose as we age,” said Jansen. “Every little bit helps. We also do finger exercises to try to keep flexibility and dexterity that you lose with your hands.”
SeniorFit also includes a walking club. “We walk the hallways three times a week, and when it’s nice we go outside,” Jansen said.
Jansen, recently certified as a chair yoga instructor, also plans to launch chair yoga classes soon to help with flexibility and to improve breathing and relaxation.
Newton Village : 110 N 5th Ave W, Newton, IA 50208 : 641.792.0115 : http://newtonvillage.org/