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Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

6 Fitness Tips for Senior Church Members


Several (actually very many) weeks ago Jason Lewis of Strongwell.org asked if he could write a guest column centering on the health of our senior saints. Being a member of a church with quite a few folks with longevity I said "Sure!" and proceeded to allow life to interfere and his article got pushed back as much as my articles did. Here at long last is his article, and being a veteran of various forms of physical therapy I can say the advice for physical fitness for the elderly in this article is perfect. I personally like the advice on walking because I know for a fact that cardiologists set great store in walking

6 Fitness Tips for Senior Church Members

For seniors who are concerned about their physical health, they may not know where to turn for help and support. Fortunately, many seniors who are active in their churches find exactly that from fellow congregation members when they make a commitment to getting fit. From exercise groups to accountability partners, church families are a blessing for seniors who want to improve their physical health.

1. Join Group Exercises

Churches often have large fellowship halls and education wings that they can open for various classes throughout the week. And, many churches across the country are opening their doors for group exercise classes for seniors
who want to enjoy socializing, getting fit, and improving their overall health and balance. Some churches set their exercises to Christian music. Other churches focus on daily devotions to guide yoga classes, stretching exercises, and  meditation.

No matter the type of exercise being offered, seniors find that joining exercise groups at church provides them with a welcoming, comfortable atmosphere that they have difficulty finding at gyms and other fitness centers. Seniors enjoy participating in exercises with their friends from church and are more likely to attend class in their church than elsewhere.

2. Designate a Fitness Buddy

Studies show that people who exercise with a friend and have a fitness buddy stay committed and enjoy their workouts more than those who don’t. Seniors who want to get and stay fit are more successful when they have a support system because fitness buddies provide support, accountability, motivation, and perhaps even healthy competition. The key is for seniors to find a fitness buddy who motivates them and pushes them to keep going.

Churches that promote fitness buddies as a critical component of getting fit also should welcome members and non-members to participate in their group exercises and fitness classes. Seniors will feel more comfortable when they can choose their fitness buddy, and the buddy may be a non-member. And, churches have a better chance of gaining new members when they open their doors to everyone.

3. Start Working for the Church or Another Church Member

If you are a senior who likes to stay active but does not enjoy working out, you should enquire about becoming the housekeeper or groundskeeper for your church or for fellow church members at their homes. People who clean for a living bend, stretch, lift, and move quite a bit; becoming a housekeeper will keep you fit even if you don’t feel like you are working out while cleaning. Groundskeepers also find themselves getting more fit as they complete tasks such as raking leaves, using a push mower, and shoveling a walkway.

4. Invite Fellow Senior Church Members to Go for a Walk

Walking is an ideal way to exercise and get fit regardless of your age or athletic skill level. The more you walk, the more time you spend outside, and the more you will relieve your stress. Walking has been shown to stop bone mass loss in older adults, strengthen muscles, improve circulation, improve sleep, increase mental sharpness, improve balance and stability, and increase your lifespan.

If you don’t like to walk alone, invite your fellow senior church members to start walking with you. You may walk to church on Sundays when the weather cooperates, plan to walk after Sunday services, or meet during the week at a nearby park or large shopping center that welcomes walkers to get fit indoors when the weather does not permit you to walk outside. Seniors who walk in groups tend to walk a little faster and a little further than when they walk alone. If you don’t get enough interest in your walking group, advertise in the church newsletter or bulletin to gain more members.

5. Become a Mentor

To get well and do good at once, consider becoming a mentor to one of the younger members of your church. Many youth and young adults attend church because they want to be closer to God and better themselves, and having a senior member to advise them on both faith- and life-related subjects could be extremely meaningful to both of you. This kind of partnership is also a great way to get in your daily dose of physical activity: ask your mentee to go on a walk with you as you discuss this week’s sermon, or invite them to tend to the church garden with you while you explore ways he or she can work out a personal issue at home. You’ll be so engaged in your conversation and bonding that you won’t even notice you’re exercising.

6. Seek Guidance

Your mental wellness is just as important as your physical wellness. Your faith will provide you with a framework to tackle life’s challenges as you age, but being a church member also offers you great opportunities to seek counsel from others. Whether you suffer from a substance abuse problem or are simply lonely and depressed following the loss of a spouse, your pastor and fellow church members, especially Sunday school class members, will offer support, advice, and a listening ear, when needed. Sometimes simply knowing there’s someone out there who cares about how you’re doing can make you feel a lot better when you’re struggling.

Senior church members have several options when it comes to getting fit. You may want to try joining an exercise group at church, designating a fitness buddy, working for the church or a fellow church member, inviting fellow senior church members to join you for a walk, or becoming a mentor to a younger congregant.

Image via Pixabay by ZOE-Animation-Studio

5 comments:

  1. Many of the senior (and non-senior) people going to our church are fat and weak. In a way, the Church facilitates that with the "love me just the way I am" (fat, weak and chronically ill) mindset. Then there's the donuts that are there every Sunday, and the Coke machines...
    It's really sad. I work in healthcare and I know what fate awaits these people if they don't do something.
    There's too much socializing that's centered around eating. I'd rather have a social event that centers around hiking or volleyball. We even have an indoor basketball court at our Church. Unused of course.
    But on a brighter note, I went to a Crossfit box a few years ago that had a short Bible study before the WOD every Wednesday. Too bad the box moved...

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    1. You seriously would like to see an octogenarian volleyball league?

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  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    Replies
    1. 1. This blog is not for advertising anything but the redemptive power of Christ
      2. You missed the entire point of this blog entry, do you seriously expect a 75 year old woman to get down into the "Front Leaning Rest Position" and do a high rep "body sculpting" routine? Keep your spam to yourself.

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