September is Healthy Aging Month, an annual observance to focus national attention on the positive aspects of growing older. Wellbeats asked our highly energetic and enthusiastic fitness instructor Katie Haggerty, co-founder of The Move For Good, a virtual fitness platform, to share her top health recommendations for older adults.
Katie Haggerty teaches Wellbeats classes including Perfect 10, Raise Your Vibration, and Spine Mobility, and will soon release our first series of progressive classes (watch for the blog post later in September).
“I always suggest, ‘Put on your sneakers every day and see where they take you,” says Katie. “You can start by just going out for a walk rather than sitting around saying I’ll start tomorrow. Start today. Even a 5-minute Office Breaks class in Wellbeats will get you up, get your blood pumping, and get you out of the rhythm of monotony and autopilot.”
Her top suggestions of Wellbeats classes for older adults are strength training, yoga, and meditation. “Strength training is the foundation to everything,” says Katie. “Life is a game of endurance, and strong muscles will get you to that finish line in a really effective way.”
“Hydration is the key to improvement,” says Katie. For hydration ideas, see our blog post with Chef Marshall O’Brien: The Many Benefits of Proper Hydration.
“Really listen to your body and do things that make your body feel good,” says Katie. She reminds people to connect to how their body feels when they’re working out. “Tap into that wisdom,” she says. “Be aware of what works for you because there is no one formula that works for everyone; it is one formula that works for that person.”
At the end of the day, “Science is science. If we get up and move our bodies, our heart rate is going to go up, we’re going to use more energy, and with that comes making healthier choices and establishing healthier habits.” The bottom line? “Get up and move. And start small to make impactful, long-lasting habits.”
In 2015, Minot State University in North Dakota conducted a 10-week Wellbeats study to assess two groups of sedentary women ages 45-65: Half who participated in live instructor-led classes, and half who took the same Wellbeats classes virtually.
After 10 weeks, participants in each group demonstrated positive results in both fitness parameters and body image. The most significant and surprising result, according to the study, were the cognitive results. Both groups showed significant improvement in executive functioning skills – engaging the pre-frontal cortex of the brain that’s responsible for things such as decision making, focus, learning, and applying knowledge. Try Transitions BASIC and Transitions TUTORIAL.
Older adults can get help working their way up to a more active lifestyle and all the brain benefits that come with it. “My new series of Wellbeats classes will be progressive,” Katie explains. “It will be programming designed for conditioning, strength, mobility, and recovery. All of these principles are essential for training how the body works together to be our highest functioning self.”
Stay tuned for Katie’s new Wellbeats classes to help you build healthy daily habits.