Stay active as you age

We all know that regular physical activity is important for our health. As we age, it becomes more and more difficult to stay active and do the things we love. Many of us become inactive due to changes in our environment, illness or fear of falling. Whatever the reason, physical activity can be the key to living a healthy, independent life.

Physical activity offers various health benefits. It reduces your risk of falls and fractures by increasing bone density, muscle strength, flexibility and balance. It also helps you control your weight by building lean muscle mass and increasing metabolism, which naturally slows with age. Staying active is good for your mental health, too. Exercise produces endorphins in the brain, which boost your mood and enhance your psychological well-being. It can also help prevent memory loss, cognitive decline and dementia.

The recommendations for physical activity in older adults is two hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, strength, flexibility and balance training two to three days a week. Dr. Kari Smith, Des Moines University Physical Therapy Clinic manager, says, “You don’t have to run a 5k or lift heavy weights to keep fit. Any activity that gets your heart rate up has health benefits. The time of the activity does not need to be continuous. Shorter bouts of 10 minutes has great health benefits, too!”

“Do something every day, whether it’s going for a walk around the mall or gardening or getting out with friends,” advises Sharon Johansen, physical therapist assistant and Active Adult Exercise class instructor. “You can do the same type of exercises anyone else can do, with modifications for your fitness level.”

The DMU Physical Therapy Clinic is offering wellness classes that are conducted by DMU therapists. You can choose from Tai-Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention, Yoga for Healthy Aging, Pilates and Core Strengthening or the Active Adult Exercise class. We also offer a very popular option called “Unlimited Classes,” in which participants can attend any of the classes throughout the month. All of the classes focus on functional movements that enhance strength, flexibility and balance training, all which help you perform normal daily activities. Smith and Johansen, who are instructors for the classes, state, “The participants really enjoy attending the classes as they feel the programs are safe, and they appreciate being closely monitored for form and technique.”

These classes provide a comfortable, supportive environment that make exercising relaxing and fun! 

Stay in shape with DMU!

Des Moines University’s Physical Therapy Clinic can help you stay active with exercise classes geared toward empowering adults to live their best life with improved mobility, strength and balance. 

“Our philosophy is to promote health and wellness by addressing an individual’s fitness needs with guided exercises in a fun and supportive environment,” says Dr. Kari Smith, Physical Therapy Clinic manager.

The classes can be purchased as a 12-week session for each type of class for $120. An unlimited option allows you to attend any of the classes for $75 a month. Register online. If you have questions about the options or a class, call the Physical Therapy Clinic at 515-271-1717.

Active Adult Exercise
Perform a variety of exercises focused on improving balance, strength and flexibility in a class specially designed for active adults.
Monday, 2-2:45 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday, 10-10:45 a.m.
Des Moines University Clinic, 8th Floor
3200 Grand Avenue, Des Moines

Core Strength with Pilates
Learn to engage and retrain your deepest core muscles for improved posture, reduced pain and better mobility.
Thursday, 4:30-5:15 p.m.
Des Moines University Clinic, 8th Floor
3200 Grand Avenue, Des Moines

Yoga for Healthy Aging
Yoga improves cardiovascular function and calms the nervous system through breath and meditation. It also addresses the gradual loss of muscle, joint stiffness and changes in balance with aging. 
Monday, 4:30-5:15 p.m.
Wednesday, 11:15 a.m.-noon
Des Moines University Clinic, 8th Floor
3200 Grand Avenue, Des Moines

Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention
Reduce pain and stiffness from arthritis though a series of gentle, pain-free movements. Improve balance, strength, flexibility and stamina for an improved quality of life.
Monday and Thursday, 3-3:45 p.m.
Des Moines University Clinic, 8th Floor
3200 Grand Avenue, Des Moines