Active Older Adult (AOA) group fitness classes help seniors not only maintain the strength and coordination they need to perform everyday tasks and live an active life, but also they play an important role in keeping people connected.
Research shows that social isolation increases seniors' risk for developing serious health issues. A lack of social connections, and/or loneliness, has also been connected to higher rates of depression and anxiety. While our classes keep people moving, some seniors feel the most important part of being in a group exercise class is the chance to be together with their peers & familiar instructors.
The Y's AOA classes have always been popular, and when the pandemic hit our team was worried that these members would suffer from the loss of their exercise classes and exercise community. When we started offering our virtual classes, we were happily surprised that they proved to be popular not only with our regular participants, but also with seniors who had not taken them in the past. We currently have participants from several states across the country!
Currently we offer YMCA members a wide variety of virtual fitness classes 6 days a week as well as a Let's Talk About...series where local experts share their knowledge on various topics, and the weekly statewide Community Cafe where participants have an opportunity to both learn and chat.
"I am the lone caregiver of my disabled husband. This makes my health and fitness critical to our ability to live independently. When Covid 19 caused the Y to close, I worried about whether I was self-disciplined enough to continue exercising on my own.
Then Whatcom Y came through with Zoom classes. I am self-disciplined enough to attend those and to walk regularly. Therefore, I can still retrieve things from under the bed, safely climb the ladder to change light bulbs and smoke alarm batteries, and do all the other random things we didn't realize would be a challenge when we became an 80-year-old.
Thanks to you and the Y for this good work. You make a difference."
AOA Virtual Fitness Participant