If you're looking for an assisted living facility and think all you can hope for is a room and a decent cafeteria, think again. Assisted living facilities have become aware of their residents' desire to remain as active as possible, and they're modifying their programs and offerings to suit those desires. While you may still find the occasional card-game night, you'll also find full schedules of activities and the resources to do more. One of these resources is a gym, and you should be sure you choose a facility with a gym for three reasons.
Improved Balance and Fewer Falls
Working out, especially if the gym has trainers who can help you with your balance, can lead to a lower risk of falling. Falls are a major source of trouble for seniors; the Boston Globe reports that falls are a main cause of injuries in seniors -- and that includes fatal injuries. Obviously, the less chance there is of you falling, the better.
Ask the facility manager or representative if you can see the gym and its class schedule, if it offers classes. Look for toning and stability classes along with both machines and free weights. The machines will help guide you through movements when you start working out to build strength, and the free weights will help improve your coordination, thus improving your control over how your body moves.
Improved Memory and Cognition
See what cardio machines and classes the gym has or if the facility offers walking and jogging clubs. Regular cardio exercise helps improve your memory and cognitive skills, and that can reduce your chances of developing not only age-related memory loss, but also possibly dementia. Harvard Health Publications notes that aerobic exercises can help your brain develop new blood vessels and help the cells you have remain in good shape for a longer time.
Reduced Chances of Developing Chronic Diseases
It is never too late to start to work out, and if you're a senior, you really should be working out as much as your body and doctor allow. Even if you have limited mobility, you can still probably do some exercises. The more you do, the better your chances of warding off chronic diseases that can take hold as you get older. From diabetes to osteoporosis, working out even in your later years can help you avoid these problems.
Don't assume that because you're heading to a retirement or assisted living center that you won't be able to do much. Talk to the facility management about their attitudes regarding senior physical fitness and try to find a place that encourages activity.