One of the highlights of my week as a physiotherapist is teaching in-person exercise classes every Tuesday. With the music, the movement and the great community atmosphere, I always leave with a big smile on my face!
I strongly encourage Aussie seniors to give in-person exercise classes a go if they get the chance! Whether you have health issues you want to manage better, you want to improve your wellbeing, or you simply want to maintain where you’re at right now, exercise has something for everyone. There are benefits to nearly every aspect of your health. I explain more below!
Physical benefits – prevention is better than cure
If there was a pill you could take to prevent heart disease, osteoporosis, falls and even some cancers, would you take it? Of course! There is no such pill, but luckily exercise has a proven impact on all of these. Physical benefits of regular exercise include:
- stronger bones
- stronger muscles
- reduced risk of falling
- reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, some cancers, diabetes, back pain and so on!
- healthier and more efficient heart and lungs
- more energy to do what you love!
The benefits of exercise go well beyond the physical.
Regular physical activity improves your mood and your ability to function throughout the day. More specifically, this includes:
- increased self-esteem and self-confidence
- reduced stress, anxiety and feelings of depression
- better sleep
- better concentration
- more energy
Being part of a group of like-minded people is a positive experience in itself. The benefits of exercise are amplified in an uplifting social setting like an in-person exercise class. Five reasons for this are:
- Social support – social connection is important to all of us as human beings, yet many older Australians are missing out. This can be very isolating, with consequences for both mental and physical health.
- Motivation to exercise – on days when exercise alone does not motivate you to get out of the house, the thought of connecting with friends might get you over the line and out the door. Knowing you’ll miss seeing your friends, and they’ll miss you, can give you the extra push you need.
- More fun! From personal experience, exercise in a group setting is far more enjoyable than exercising alone. There are many laughs to be had and in the challenging sections, you know that you are all in this together. The fun of in-person classes could be the factor that motivates you to get active.
- More effective – exercising in a group is highly motivating. You may get more out of the session than you would have at home! With the instructor spurring you on, and others around you pushing themselves and having a go, it is far easier to go that extra mile. Furthermore, everyone has their own aches, pains or niggles; seeing others have a go despite these challenges may be the encouragement you need to try something new
- Education – in-person exercise groups are a great way to learn from others. You will pick up progressions of different exercises by watching what others do and see how each activity can be modified to suit your abilities.
You will also learn from your instructor; Your physiotherapist can give feedback and corrections, personalised encouragement and answer your questions in real-time – something you will not get from watching a video!
By trying out a range of new exercises you will learn how to help yourself in between classes.
With so many benefits in so many areas, we hope to see you in class very soon!
If you’d like to set up a group exercise class for your community, please call The Physio Co’s Client Care team on 1300 797 793 to discuss further!
Article written by Tessa Machin, TPC Physiotherapist
- Australian Government Exercise Guidelines for Older Adults
- Regular group exercise contributes to balanced health in older adults in Japan: a qualitative (interview) study