Few in the “seniors” category need to be told that your body changes in many ways as one ages. Eating a balanced diet is one way to stay fit and so is practicing balance and strength exercises. There are multiple benefits, according to the website Back to Motion.
Exercise and balance routines help improve muscle tone, thus contributing to better balance and more cushion for your bones in case of a fall. They also contribute to better reaction time to catch yourself before a fall. Exercise, particularly resistance training, builds stronger bones, which means fewer breaks. Regular exercise also keeps the mind sharp which leads to better processing of your environment and the ability to avoid risky situations.
Research has shown that specialized balance-focused exercise programs reduce the number of falls that result in minor injury by 37% and they reduce the number of falls leading to serious injury by 43%. Approximately 61% of seniors who experienced a fall after doing balance-exercises were able to avoid breaking a bone as a result of the accident, notes the website Freedom Care.
Balance is important for many day-to-day activities like getting in and out of bed, stepping in and out of the shower, or climbing up and down the stairs, according to the Resort Lifestyle Communities web site. Balance training is when someone engages in exercises designed to strengthen the muscles that help keep you upright, including your legs and core. The web site offers tips on exercises that can be done at home and there are plenty of videos on You Tube.
Pamm Pauley teaches a Balance and Strength class each Monday and Friday at the Lewes Senior Activity Center. Joanne Kempton has been attending Pauley’s class once a week for at least 5-6 years and her partner Judy has been attending for over two years. They live in Lewes.
“We are taking the class as part of our regular exercise program to keep moving and to continue building up strength and improve our overall balance,” she says. We thoroughly enjoy Pamm’s classes as she is extremely talented and always goes above and beyond to make sure everyone is safe in what they can do. She has a wonderful sense of humor and expounds cheerfulness and unbound energy. She also continues to change up the exercise routines to keep the classes interesting and challenging.
Pauley encourages doing exercises while at home. “My recommendations for off class days would be to do something like walking or swimming. Something Cardio”, she says. We work every muscle group of the body during class, so muscle recovery is very important”.
“The Balance and Strength class is excellent for keeping muscles strong to support our bones and joints as we age, she says. “Weight bearing exercise is a must for everyone and anyone that has osteoporosis family history”.
Milton resident Peter Bilyks understands the importance of muscle strength and balancing exercises. He has been attending twice a week for about two years. He also attends Pauley’s Cardio Blast class, and the center’s walking aerobics class.
“As we age, falls are one of the biggest risks we face. By improving our balance and strengthening our major muscle groups you minimize your risk of falling,” he says. “Pamm changes up the classes every week, so it never gets boring”.
Lewes’ Jane Taylor takes Pauley’s Balance and Strength class twice a week, the Ball and Band class once a week and her Zumba class twice a week. “She is the best,” says Taylor. “She makes everyone believe that no matter how old you are, you can get moving and stay healthy”.
The classes at Lewes not only help with strength and balances maneuvers, and here is also a healthy dose of socialization as well. “I have witnessed so many friendships sparked at class. it is heartwarming,” says Pauley.
By Mary Jo Tarallo, Guest Journalist
Mary Jo Tarallo spent much of her career in public relations with various non-profits and spent 40 years involved with the ski industry as a journalist, public relations director for a national trade association and as executive director of the Learn to Ski and Snowboard initiative. Prior to her ski industry involvement she worked for the Maryland International Center in Baltimore and United Way of Central Maryland. She won a Gold Award for TV programming for a United Way simulcast that starred Oprah Winfrey. She has been cited for her work by numerous organizations. Mary Jo grew up in Baltimore, attended the University of Maryland and Towson University, lived in Washington, DC for 21 years and has been a full time resident of Rehoboth Beach and Milton since May 2019.