To help them improve in that critical area—making seniors safer as well as stronger—Glenmeadow has unveiled three new wellness programs for 2017 that focus on balance. “We find that working on balance is an important factor because it helps prevent falls,” Debbie says. “We want to keep our residents active, and we find that doing these balance programs keeps them independent.”
Debbie says the three new programs are intended for seniors at all fitness levels and of all abilities—including those who use a wheelchair. “They can learn more about balance and can do strengthening exercises and brain exercises for balance,” she says.
Debbie herself will lead a fun and stimulating class called “Balance Works” every second Thursday of the month from 11 a.m. to noon. Each month, Debbie will pick a topic related to balance for the group to discuss. Afterwards, participants will do exercises that include walking on mats of different thicknesses; walking a line taped on the floor, placing one foot in front of the other; and performing multi-tasking challenges, such as doing a balancing activity while counting backward from 100. “It’s like an obstacle course,” Debbie says of that portion of the class. “We go to different stations, and, in each, we’re doing different things that pertain to balance. It’s really a wonderful program.” Debbie says the obstacle course can be completed while seated or standing, and with walkers or canes, if necessary.
Bands and Balance
Also on Thursdays, from 10 to 10:30 a.m., Debbie will lead seniors in “Bands and Balance,” working with resistance bands. Seniors will perform exercises both seated and standing. Seated exercises focus on upper body and leg strength, as well as stretching. While standing, seniors can hold onto a bar on the wall and safely do one-legged stands, knee lifts and kicks. Debbie says all the exercises in the 10 a.m. program are geared toward improving balance and stability, but the Bands and Balance class is shorter than Balance Works. On Tuesdays at 11 a.m. a second Bands and Balance class will be led by Laureen Ross.
Tai Chi for Seniors
George DePina, who teaches a range of motion-related classes at Glenmeadow, will lead the third new wellness offering, “Tai Chi for Seniors” on Mondays from 10 to 10:30 a.m. Tai Chi, an ancient Chinese martial art, is also a form of stylized, meditative exercise characterized by methodically slow circular and stretching movements, and balancing positions. The movements involved in Tai Chi are specifically designed to improve physical and mental well-being. “One week, they’ll learn a certain movement, then another the next week, and then they’ll put them all together,” Debbie explains. “It’s really great because Tai Chi is another way to improve balance. For example, participants sometimes have to have one foot off the floor.”
To ensure the class benefits all seniors, Debbie says the actions can be done seated or standing. Classes are open to Glenmeadow residents and Lifestyle Pass members.