Susan Logan’s philosophy behind exercise for seniors is simple: “You use it or lose it.”
“The best pill in the world is activity and exercise. Our life becomes too sedentary,” said Logan, who retired after 47 years as a physical therapist. “We need the social interaction involved with activity and the less we move, the less we can do.”
A lack of exercise can compromise one’s weight, joints, strength and endurance, especially in old age.
“If that’s all compromised, then they can’t do the things that would stimulate them and keep them engaged,” Logan said. “They can’t do things with their families, they can’t do things with their friends.”
For Logan, living a sedentary lifestyle is the “wrong way to approach aging.”
On Thursday (Aug. 1), she encouraged fellow seniors at the Falls Active Adult Center to do the opposite through the exercise class “Keep Moving.”
During the class, seniors first practiced stretching and breathing exercises as a warmup while also focusing on maintaining good posture.
They practiced small movements like walking their feet in and out while sitting in a chair before getting up and doing exercises with light weights and foam noodles.
The class also includes toe raises, squats and other exercises.
Throughout the class, Logan encouraged seniors to drink water and also stay within their personal pace and limitations with the different exercises.
Seniors benefit from exercise classes like “Keep Moving” because they provide a socialization outlet in addition to physical activity, according to Logan, who used an 81-year-old woman at the center as a prime example of the good exercise can do for seniors.
“She goes line dancing, she exercises here, and those are huge things. She walks up and down the stairs carrying groceries,” Logan said. “She’s independent. That’s how you do it. You make choices about how you’re going to age. You have to keep moving.”
For seniors who want to get moving but aren’t sure how, Logan offered some advice.
“Get an OK from their doctor and become fully aware of what their personal limitations are so that they know how to participate in something without going overboard,” Logan said.
It’s always better to “take one step forward slowly” rather than jump into something, get hurt and end up being less active than before.
“Incremental change is much better,” she said.
Norma Talbot from Falls participated in “Keep Moving” and also frequents other exercise offerings at the center throughout the year.
One that stuck out to her especially was “A Matter of Balance.”
“We benefit tremendously from all of them,” Talbot said. “At this age in our lives, we have to be moving. It’s nothing real strenuous, nothing that’s going to hurt anybody... Us older people need to move and exercise.”
The Falls Active Adult Center plans to hold “Keep Moving” with Susan Logan again on Thursdays, Aug. 8 and 15 from 11 a.m. to noon. Equipment for the class is provided.
The center also hosts an Arthritis Foundation-sponsored exercise program every Tuesday and Thursday from 12:30 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. starting on Aug. 20 until Sept. 26.
For more information about the senior center and its programs, call 570-388-2623.