Think you can’t get moving? Think again

As we age, our mobility can decline for a number of reasons. In an effort to meet each participant where they are in their wellness journey, Shannon Perkins, exercise specialist, Parkview Health & Fitness Center, recently introduced a Cha Cha Chair class, where athletes of all ages and abilities can groove, move and work up a sweat in their seat. We invited Shannon to tell us more about how to keep moving if limited mobility is an issue.

What are some of the risks of a sedentary lifestyle?

As the years pass, it is natural to lose some of our lean muscle mass. For those who sit for the majority of the day, this risk increases. The loss of muscle mass can make everyday activities, such as getting dressed, bathing or reaching for an object on the floor, difficult. In addition to muscle loss, we also need to be concerned about bone loss. Staying active and doing weight-bearing activities helps keep the necessary force on our bones that we need to keep them healthy and prevent fractures.

Our heart health is also at risk when we reduce our movement. Physical activity helps keep the heart muscles healthy and pumping the right amount of blood to the body. A sedentary lifestyle is also correlated with depression. The list goes on and on.

What are some ways people can incorporate movement into their day if they aren’t overly mobile?

It's really about doing an activity you enjoy and finding a way to continue to challenge yourself.  It could be as simple as taking a few minutes in the morning to do some stretches or spending a few minutes exploring outside. There are always ways to build up from your current physical ability, whether that be with your own body or using equipment like resistance bands.

What are some tips to avoid overdoing it?

Rest and recovery is just as important as the activity itself. If you need to take a break, do so. Having a game plan is also important. Make a commitment to move each day and go from there.

What would you tell someone who doesn’t think they can get active?

Our bodies are capable of magnificent things. It’s our mindset that sets the limit. Tell yourself "I can" every day and make it happen.

How did you develop your seated exercise program?

I wanted to give those with limited mobility the chance to experience different styles of movement. All types of movement can be altered to fit whatever situation a person might find themselves in, all it takes is some creativity and a desire to try. My journey into seated exercise started with strength building using dumbbells and resistance bands, then progressed into stretching with Chair Yoga and now my Cha Cha Chair class emphasizes dance moves to music from the 40s, 50s and 60s, all from a seated position.

 

Shannon’s Cha Cha Chair class is held at the Parkview Center for Healthy Living on Thursdays, from noon - 12:50 p.m. Due to its popularity, there is currently a waiting list for the class, but those interested are invited to sign up for any spots that may become available by calling (260) 266-6509.    

 

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