SAIL. Stay Active and Independent for Life. This program, geared towards seniors, has become very dear to my heart. The older I get, the more important it is to me to remain active, especially with my nomadic lifestyle. And the more important it becomes to me to encourage others to remain active.
I see all too well the dangers of leading a sedentary life. Not only do muscles atrophy, but mental health also faces its challenges.
I painfully recall the days prior to my knee surgeries when walking from one room to another in my house was an effort. Once I had my new knees, I began to really appreciate the new mobility. Who knew that the ability to walk more than a few steps could become so meaningful?
I’ve been an instructor in the SAIL program for six years now in Leavenworth. On Friday I expanded my territory into East Wenatchee. My new participants are now either in assisted living or independent living at Bonaventure.
Our initial session was to introduce the program and provide information about the benefits of remaining active. I actually ran out of course materials and am excited about the response at that first meeting. Walkers and wheelchairs are not preventing these seniors in their desire to stay active. Exercises can always be modified.
Fall prevention is also the underlying idea behind this program. There are exercises focusing on balance as well as an aerobics component. Explanations are provided as to the benefits of individual exercises. Flexing and stretching become as routine as brushing our teeth everyday.
Increased mobility brings along with it a sense of freedom. This may be in the form of vacation travel or merely the ability to meander leisurely through a grocery store or a mall. For some, this may mean even a simple stroll down the street. For others it means being able to play with grandchildren.
Mental health benefits accompany the physical health benefits. Increased mobility means more opportunities for socialization and less isolation. This results in increased levels of happiness and decreased levels of depression.
I hope that I have provided some incentive in this post for you to remain physically active, no matter what your age. If you’re in Leavenworth or in East Wenatchee, come SAIL away with me. And if you are elsewhere in the world, I encourage you to find a way to stay active.