Residents show their hearts some love with SeniorFITness

TINLEY PARK, Ill. (February 2015) — Whether you have a sweetheart or not, Valentine’s Day is the perfect day to think about your own heart — specifically, about heart health.

Every year since 1963, the President has issued a proclamation declaring February “American Heart Month.” (You can read this year’s official proclamation here.) The American Heart Association notes that there are many things that Americans can do to fight heart disease, and that there’s good reason to do so: heart disease is the number one killer of Americans, and it affects more than one in three American adults. But you can lower your risk by improving your health, and one big way to do that is through regular exercise.

Residents use the fitness room at Park Place of Elmhurst. Park Place is one of five Providence Communities with Senior FITness, a program that allows residents to take classes and work with a personal trainer.

Residents use the fitness room at Park Place of Elmhurst. Park Place is one of five Providence Communities with SeniorFITness, a program that allows residents to take classes and work with a personal trainer.

At Providence communities, one of the ways for residents to stay fit is with SeniorFITness, a service provided by Symbria.

According to the Symbria website, SeniorFITness is designed to improve strength, balance, mobility, and cognitive health. The program is customized for seniors in any setting, from skilled nursing to assisted living to independent living.

SeniorFITness is available at Park Place of Elmhurst, Royal Park Place, Victorian Village, Village Woods, and Saratoga Grove.

“SeniorFITness is a wonderful program that gets people moving at Saratoga Grove,” said Campus Director Megan Tengerstrom. “The residents work closely with Joan Lund, who is not only their instructor but also a friend. She is a true motivator. She sets up specialized workout programs for all the residents, she really gets people moving. I always hear positive feedback about the program.”

Joan, a 78-year-old triathlete, works with more than 60 residents each month at Saratoga Grove. (Read more about Joan here.)

“I love working with seniors and helping them stay physically fit and active,” she said.

There are more benefits to regular exercise than just heart health — the American Heart Association reports that increased levels of physical activity are associated with a reduced incidence of hypertension, non-insulin-dependent type 2 diabetes, colon cancer, depression, and anxiety.

In general, physical fitness keeps seniors active, healthy, and independent for longer: “The biggest benefits are maintaining or regaining strength, endurance, balance, and flexibility for the activities of daily living,” Joan said.

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