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Celebrating Senior Independence Month

Corley Roberts | Feb 4, 2013, 3:11 p.m.
February is National Senior Independence Month!

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Corley Roberts, ACSM-HFS, MHA, CPHQ, is an Exercise Physiologist, published author, public speaker, health care professional and founder and CEO of MyFitScript. MyFitScript has been featured on Medscape Inc., CBS Healthwatch, Business and Health Magazine and the American Academy of Family Physicians. Visit www.myfitscript.com for exercise education and programs, or contact Corley at info@myfitscript.com.

February is best known for American Heart Month. You will probably see television commercials, magazine articles, and other activities focused on improving heart care to remind us of the importance. February is also National Senior Independence Month, and MyFitScript wants to celebrate the independence of our senior population in this month’s feature.

Independence is an important issue for seniors and their families. Having independence is vital to establishing confidence and self-management, but for seniors who have difficult living circumstances, this can be a challenge. It can also be a challenge for seniors with physical limitations, but a challenge doesn’t mean impossible! Bringing these kinds of issues to light is what National Senior Independence Month is all about. Let’s examine your living circumstances first. Are medicines and necessary daily supplies easily accessible? Having to stand on a step for out-of-reach supplies and falling is dependence waiting to happen!

Are hallways and open spaces wide enough to walk through and free of clutter? If you leave your shoes lying around, put them over to the side and know where they are! Being more aware of your surroundings is key. One year for Christmas I bought my dad a pair of vibrating slippers. Yes, that’s funny just by itself; however, I received a call from my mom a few weeks later that went something like this: “Your father and I kept hearing a strange buzzing noise and looked for three days around the house … we thought it was under the floorboards, or our air-conditioning unit was going out …”

As I listened and wondered where this conversation was going, she finally said it was those darn slippers! On a good note, they did put them away in the closet. Forever.

Independence also means physical mobility. If you are able to get up out of a chair at all, then consider chair exercises. Just the motion of standing and sitting uses arm and leg muscles that can easily become a daily exercise program. Many exercises can be done from a chair!

My parents’ house has a second level and, although there is no reason for my mom to go upstairs much anymore, she does at least once a day to maintain leg strength. Although she complains that she doesn’t like to clean, she does so anyway because it keeps her moving. Independence means moving. Building upper- and lower-body strength actually takes the pressure off of your heart, so that your heart doesn’t have to work as hard. Well, there – we did it. We linked Senior Independence Month with American Heart Month!

Visit www.MyFitScript.com for a FREE General Fitness program. If you have not exercised for a while, please see your physician before beginning. This is a basic strength-training program with some guidelines for an aerobic program as well. Start off slow at the lower end of the recommendations. Also, be sure to visit the website’s Library for helpful tools. It’s YOUR move!

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