Keeping seniors healthy and moving is important for their long-term independence. Helping seniors reach their health goals is part of gym owner Angie Parker’s mission at Resolution Fitness, in Battle Ground, Washington. With 16 years of experience teaching senior-focused Silver&Fit Healthy Aging and Exercise classes, she’s well-versed at helping seniors work out within their physical limits.
Silver&Fit is a senior health and fitness program available through many healthcare plans. Qualifying program members can receive discounted or free gym memberships from participating facilities. Members may also request free home workout equipment. To check eligibility and join the program, visit the website at www.silverandfit.com.
Exercise has extended benefits for seniors, according to the National Council on Aging. Regular activity after 60 can prevent bone loss, osteoarthritis pain and prevent various chronic illnesses including heart disease. Exercise can also improve mental health.
Having a workout partner, or group, can make consistent exercise easier.
“Sometimes exercise is more enjoyable with a friend. If you lack a fitness partner, a community-based program can provide the social connection and motivation you need to stick with it,” according to NCOA. “Exercising in a group setting also provides an added layer of safety for older adults who require more supervision during activity.”
Battle Ground local Parker and her husband, Shane Parker, opened Resolution Fitness in 2011. The gym’s Silver&Fit class began with just four members. Over the years, the class grew in popularity with over 200 monthly attendees. The COVID-19 pandemic drastically decreased participation. Each class currently averages around 10 participants.
Though many gyms participate in the Silver&Fit program, few offer classes specifically for senior members. Resolution Fitness offers Silver&Fit exercise classes, free for gym members, from 10:45 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays.
In addition to exercise classes, gym members have 24-hour access to weights, cardio equipment, lockers and showers seven days a week. All classes are hosted in their large upstairs aerobics room.
Those who are considering purchasing a gym membership and would like to observe a Silver&Fit exercise class are welcome to visit and tour the facility, Angie Parker said.
Parker is happy to offer Silver&Fit classes and enjoys the community and friendship fostered during group exercise. She believes the class is an excellent way to remind seniors they’re part of a caring community. For many seniors, it’s an excellent source of social activity, Parker said.
“I love working with the elderly. It’s very rewarding. Most of the time they’re incredibly grateful,” she said.
Silver&Fit class participants have a wide range of physical capabilities. Class members currently range from 60 to 90 years old. Exercises are catered to each individual’s capability and what their body can physically manage.
Injuries are rare in the Silver&Fit classroom. In her 16 years of teachingm Parker has never had someone fall during class. She attributes her success to safety training and participants knowing their own physical limits, and Parker encourages them to speak up when something is uncomfortable.
“They’re not afraid to speak up if they need modifications to the workout,” Parker said. “I don’t ever pressure people. The exercise is up to them.”
Parker asks that participants be well-fed, hydrated and aware of their body’s physical limitations when attending class.
A typical class starts with a five- to 10-minute warmup. Attendees are welcomed, then encouraged to choose their equipment and follow the instructed exercises. Some participants choose to exercise in chairs, which can reduce the likelihood of injury. Hand weights and resistance belts are available to increase workout difficulty.
The exercises in a Silver&Fit class focus on practical movements, like using stairs and increasing arm strength. Using exercise to build strength and confidence in participants can increase their independence and help them reach personal goals.
Many participants have personal reasons for joining the program, Parker said. Some want to travel and walk long distances during their vacations. Others wish to be physically fit enough to play with their grandchildren. Many want to increase their physical independence and lose weight for their long-term health.
“I have seen someone lose 20 to 30 pounds and their cardiovascular ability increase 50%,” Parker said.
Parker and the Silver&Fit class members are happy to welcome new members and teach them exercises. The program instructors aren’t the only ones caring for member safety, Parker said. The Silver&Fit group at the gym is like a family, and members help each other, she said.
“It’s very welcoming, and the group is very kind,” Parker said. “We just want to help build their confidence and keep their independence as long as possible.”
Seniors interested in Silver&Fit and a discounted membership at Resolution Fitness may call the gym at 360-687-9509. Resolution Fitness is located at 1311 SE Grace Ave., Battle Ground.