Let’s stay healthy and fit! National Senior Health & Fitness Day is a nationwide celebration with a goal of spreading awareness about health-related issues and promoting the importance of body fitness of senior adults. Held the last Wednesday in May during Older Americans Month, National Senior Health & Fitness Day shines a light on what can be done to improve the overall health and activity level of older adults in our community.
 
Exercise has countless benefits for all ages, including a healthier heart, stronger bones, and improved flexibility. For seniors, there are additional benefits, including a reduced risk of chronic diseases, lowering the chance of injury, and improving mood. Research shows that older adults who are active in senior programs can manage and delay the onset of diseases while experiencing improvements in their physical, social, spiritual, emotional, and mental well-being.
 
What is Sonoma Hills Retirement Community doing to promote senior health and fitness? A lot! From a variety of exercise classes to bingo, brain games, jeopardy, and puzzles, to mindful meditation, singing, and juicing nutritious drinks, Sonoma Hills provides many opportunities for residents to find something of interest!

Monica Powers, owner of EQL Wellness, LLC, Enhancing Quality of Life and a certified fitness professional, teaches safe, fun & effective movement classes for the older adults at Sonoma Hills. She specializes in movement to music emphasizing motion, balance, and coordination in a fun environment where body and mind flourish. The weekly sessions are taught either in a seated, standing, or combination seated/standing format. All of the movements are to help residents in performing their daily activities. Monica starts each class with a warm-up, guides the residents through a medley of movement, and concludes with a cool down and balance exercises, always emphasizing good breathing techniques and posture. Currently, Monica teaches a gentle stretching and balance class and Zumba Gold®. It is never too late for seniors to start engaging in a regular exercise routine. The key is to find something you enjoy doing and start at a level that is easy to maintain.

Physical activities keep your body in good condition, just as mental activities help keep your brain working well with the maximum benefits. Keeping the mind active is what activities such as bingo, brain games, and puzzles, and jeopardy do for the residents of Sonoma Hills. Bingo requires mental alertness of rapid hand-eye coordination, visual skills, and memory from the players. Residents who play brain games and jeopardy use their knowledge of past events and facts to answer questions. Puzzles can also provide beneficial brain stimulation. Some of the residents work on the giant crossword puzzle or do word searches and word scrambles.
 
Flower In The Garden Another way Sonoma Hills helps boost resident’s health and well- being is by offering Mindfulness Meditation classes. Residents listen to Katie DeJongh’s soothing voice and magical flute music to help guide them through meditation. At the core of the practice is the development of observation skills, concentration, and mindfulness. Benefits of these classes might include improved mental states (reducing anxiety and depression), physical health (lower blood pressure, improved sleep, a reduction of chronic pain, and stress relief) and heightened feelings of contentment and well-being.
 

Olga Kulikouskaya offers a weekly sing-along for the residents at Sonoma Hills. Singing has been known to strengthen the immune system, as proteins are produced that function as antibodies, developing a stronger diaphragm and overall circulation. Using your voice for music is also a natural antidepressant as it releases a feel-good brain chemical that makes you feel happy, lowering stress levels, decreasing levels of a stress hormone, improving mental alertness, and improving blood circulation, allowing more oxygen to reach the brain.

 
For those residents who have trouble consuming enough fruits and vegetables, try Sonoma Hill’s latest juice concoctions! We combine organic fruits and vegetables to make a healthy (and delicious) afternoon drink. Juicing can reduce the risk of cancer, boost the immune system, remove toxins from the body, aid in digestion, and help maintain a healthy weight.
 
And while we often separate the two, physical health and mental health really go hand in hand. Poor physical health can increase the risk of developing mental health problems, just as poor mental health can negatively affect physical health and increase the risk of various conditions. Sonoma Hills offers a variety of activities to improve the residents’ physical and mental health. Give one or all a try!