By Varshini Chellapilla
Exercise is a key component of maintaining healthy cognitive abilities among older adults. Many studies have shown that physical activity and fitness can lead to improvements in memory retention as well as a reduced risk for cognitive decline.
The National Institute on Aging (NIA) published an exercise book focused on the methods and benefits of physical exercise for older adults. Titled “Get Fit For Life: Exercise & Physical Activity for Healthy Aging,” the book is available to order or download for free on the NIA website.
The book is designed for beginners as well as regular exercisers and provides detailed instructions for simple exercises, worksheets to help construct fitness routines, and activity logs. Also included is a special section designated for older adults with chronic conditions such as arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and type 2 diabetes. From stretches between TV commercials to yoga routines, the book comes with links to organizations such as the YMCA who have designed exercise programs that build on endurance, mobility, balance, and strength.
The NIA also provides exercise routines on YouTube that are easy to follow along. These videos were a part of the NIA Go4Life campaign launched in 2011 and are now available on the NIA website along with guides to physical activity tracking tools, fitness clothes, and how to get started.
Starting May 26th, the Penn Memory Center (PMC) is offering Shake It Up, a 10-week long virtual exercise program designed in a collaborative effort with Time Out. PMC also has partnered with the Dance For Health program since 2013 to encourage healthy living among older adults through weekly dance sessions and healthy eating. The program is between sessions at the moment.