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Senior exercise programs pay long-term dividends in health

by JOEL MARTIN
Staff Writer | April 3, 2024 1:30 AM

COLUMBIA BASIN — Classics require a little more maintenance. That applies to cars, houses and bodies, according to the National Council on Aging.

“Regular exercise can help older adults stay independent and prevent many health problems that come with age,” the NCOA wrote on its website.

Adults 65 and older should put in at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity such as brisk walking, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and at least two days a week of activities that strengthen muscles. That can include lifting weights, but digging in the garden also counts, and so does yoga.

The Moses Lake Senior Center offers exercise classes for seniors at a couple of different levels, said manager Marilyn Stewart.

“On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 to 11 we have a low-impact class that is (to help them) stay in shape,” Stewart said. “And then Monday from 9 to 10 and Tuesday and Thursday from 10 to 11 is more strength, balance and fitness … It’s fort anybody, especially our low-impact class. It’s more of a beginners (class).”

The Moses Lake Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department offers classes in all kinds of exercise, including a couple specifically for seniors: Senior Yin Yoga and Silver Strength. 

“(Senior Yin Yoga) is great for those looking for a slower-paced class,” according to the department’s brochure. “While this type of yoga flow is designed for seniors it is also a great balancing flow for those who are young. In yin yoga, you will hold gentle poses for a longer period. This makes for a very relaxing, enjoyable class.”

The Ephrata Senior Center also offers a gentle yoga class, according to its website, and also a class called SAIL, or Stay Active and Independent for Life. That one involves an hour of exercise two to three times a week, sitting or standing, according to the website.

The city of Moses Lake classes are free to holders of a Larson Recreation Center pass, which is $5 a day, $32 per month or $309 for a year, and comes with access to a host of other activities. The Ephrata Senior Center program is free and open to all, although the Moses Lake Senior Center does accept donations. 

“You just show up and you put your dollar donation in the box and wait for them to get started,” Stewart said.

    Not every older American is going to want to play tennis or run a marathon, but keeping active can positively contribute to quality of life, regardless of what a person's life goals are.