Exercise: For Older Texans, a Cure for Social Isolation
Monday, April 11, 2022
One way for older Texans to fight social isolation and increase mobility is with exercise, and there's an option to consider if you can't make it to a gym or fitness center.
The pandemic all but shut down many group workouts, but at AARP's Virtual Community Center, a series of exercise classes takes place every Tuesday at 10 a.m. Central time.
NIA is short for "Non-Impact Aerobics," and the classes are for people of any fitness level or gender. Jule Aguirre, a psychotherapist and NIA trainer, said it's another way to get your body moving and feel better.
She said she's taught people up to 100 years of age.
"So, at the end I always want to know, how do you feel? And I received the feedback," said Aguirre. "This guy was like, an octogenarian - like, probably in his 90s? He said, 'I feel like a turbo in a school zone.' We're talking vitality and really enlivening people. This program works!"
After the class, Aguirre said participants take time to converse and connect about various topics to help relieve stress and receive extra resources. Classes are held every Tuesday, and registration is required.
Learn more online at 'AARP.org/nearme.'
The COVID-19 pandemic brought a lot of grief, stress and social isolation, which almost everyone has experienced in some way over the last couple of years.
Susan Williams, associate state director for outreach and advocacy with AARP Texas, said that combination can be as debilitating as a chronic illness or disease. And one way to ease sadness or loneliness is to choose fun activities and get moving.
"Movement that feels good, movement that's doable and movement that keeps the 'life force' moving," said Williams, "stimulating the mind, stimulating the emotions."
Since it began in 2020, Williams said the "NIA Moving to Heal" class has grown - on any given week, there may be 300 to 500 attendees.
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