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Use It Or Lose It: B-Fit Exercise Classes Keep Seniors Going

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**Please Note: This is an article written for MEPAP2 Practicum Requirement under Professional Development and is intended only as an informal educational article.**


For a fundamental chair exercise routine, Brookdale’s B-Fit classes deliver a variety of good routines. The B-Fit classes are held live every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday at 11:00 a.m. by Resident Programs Director Katie Dale. There are benefits to joining the class. Many who have joined have a prolonged time out of hospitalizations, report feeling more energized after the routines and are using the time to enjoy socially being with a group of peers doing something interesting together.   

            Though the class has more regular routines than different, it keeps them on a schedule the residents have taken to and enjoy. There is a steady average attendance of eight residents a day. At times there is just enough seating to keep everyone in the room. More than half the time, residents are filling the room to near capacity.

            When a resident is restricted in their range of motion, which can be a challenge, Katie encourages them regardless. “Do only what you can do, nothing more, nothing less,†she often says. For one amputee and longtime member Elvera Skolaut, this has been a barrier. “She has always persisted in doing the activities in a modified way so she can still participate, despite having one leg,†says Mrs. Dale.

            For those who can’t or don’t want to stand and balance for the standing routine, she gives the option to sit and modify. “Maybe they can’t or maybe they don’t feel as comfortable. Whatever the reason I don’t want them to feel left out because of a limitation. So I give them the choice to modify if they don’t want to or can’t do the full standing routine.â€

            For the majority of the time, the class is in motion. From arms to legs, hands to standing, there’s a little bit of everything for a variety of everyone.


So, what’s needed?

First, make a circle with chairs, encouraging the residents to sit where they want. Hand out one- to two-pound hand weights in pairs to each resident and begin with deep breathing. This is simply taking long breaths through the nose and out through the mouth. Repeat six or seven times.

Second, stretch the neck and shoulders. I encourage them to look up and down in slow increments and repeat that two to three times, and look side to side in similar fashion, then sideways (left ear to left shoulder, right ear to right shoulder).

Third, grab the weights. Holding one in each hand drop your arms to the sides of the chair and hang them, squeeze your shoulders to your ears, then hang, repeating four to five times.

Following this I go into a routine with the hand weights. Once those exercises are complete and we’ve finished the arms, we set the weights aside and go onto the legs, starting them with a rapid warm up kick in the air. After that I lead them through a set of leg routines that get their cardiovascular system working. In between sets I remind them to take catch their breath and pace themselves.

For the standing exercises, I ask them to rise to their feet (who are able and willing to), going behind the chair for the majority of the exercises. Then I lead them in a variety of leg and torso moves – nothing too strenuous, but always using the chair for balance.

Once we’re complete with standing exercises, we return to seated positions and focus on our hands and fingers.

Finally, we cool down. This is some basic stretching that will include arms and legs.


            For more information on how to conduct a B-Fit Class with your residents, contact Katie Dale at Katherine.dale@brookdale.com.

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Great article, and a good activity for relieving stress and anxiety. As the New Regs go into affect on November 28th . F740-F744 Eldercare Facilities will be required to diagnose residents with depression, anxiety disorders and plan their care according . Activities Department will need Stress and Anxiety related activities to add into their programs to cover the percentage of the population that have behavioral health issues. According to National Institute of Mental Health,  Exercise is a recommended treatment / therapy for depression.


thanks for posting... Pennie

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