Health Check: Best exercises for healthy joints
A dip in the pool is usually a relaxing time, but twice a week at Trillium Woods in Plymouth, a group of a dozen seniors gather for "Aquacise,"a 45-minute class aimed at helping participants improve the strength of their muscles, ligaments and tendons.

"The nice thing about water is that it takes about 90 percent of your body weight off of your joints," said Alyssa Isaackson, the fitness center manager at Trillium Woods. "So if you have any knee or hip issues, it's a great alternative as to working in the fitness center."

One of the class participants is 83-year-old Austin Pryor. He has arthritis in his knees and wears braces to help with his lateral movement. He's been in the class about six months.

"And it's a lot of laughs, usually," Pryor said. "And it's fun. And it's wonderful exercises."

He says it's wonderful because water can act as the great equalizer. The class can be done by people of any age or fitness level.

Participants do exercises that work their upper and lower body, they do balance work, all the while, they stay in constant motion for nearly an hour.

"It's great on your joints, "Isaackson said. "Our water's kept to 86 degrees, so it's very warm. It's very comfortable for the residents, improving their range of motion and again it's a very safe environment to do their training in."

Losing bone density is a normal part of the aging process, but exercise can help the bones stay strong. Pryor says since he started the class six months ago, he's already stronger in the upper body. And he has high hopes for what "aquacise" can do for his longevity.

"It's a constant emphasis on what it does to reduce and improve the quality of aging, and hopefully give me another ten years of good life," Pryor said.

In addition to exercise, it's important for seniors to eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of calcium and vitamin D.

Delane Cleveland

May 23, 2017


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