Senior Health and Fitness Day is May 29. It’s the perfect time to learn more about the importance of exercising as you age. Below is a Q&A with one of our very own OptumCare community center instructors in Utah.
Name: Melanie Stanley
What classes do you teach at the community center?
I teach chair yoga and meditation.
How long have you been a fitness instructor?
I started teaching yoga three years ago, and meditation two years ago.
Why did you decide to become a fitness instructor?
I completely love it. Since I started teaching yoga and meditation here, I feel like I’ve found my purpose in life. I fell into yoga at a time when I couldn’t do my regular elliptical workout. I took a restorative yoga class at a rec center, and by the end of the class I was hooked. I didn't know any of the names of the poses and I wasn’t flexible. But what I did know was how I felt after that first class. I felt amazing and I knew that I wanted to share this feeling with others.
What is your favorite part about teaching at the community center?
One of my favorite things about working at OptumCare is the people. I look forward every week to seeing everyone at the front desk.. They’ve been so kind and are always willing to help and support me in any way.
As far as the people that come to my classes, they’re amazing. This is truly a community center. I see friendships emerging from my classes, and people helping other people.
Most of all, I see these fabulous people showing up for themselves and putting in the work every week. I’ve witnessed so much growth. They’re standing taller, walking with more ease and breathing easier. This means the world to me. I believe my purpose in life is simply just make people feel better. My goal is to make class work for everyone. I want people to leave feeling better than they did when they walked in.
Why is it important to keep exercising as you age?
As we age, it’s important to keep moving. We lose muscle mass over time, and our bodies get stiff. Core strength, balance and mindfulness are so important. And consistency is key. It’s what you do every day that counts.
Do you have any tips on how to move more during the day?
Find an activity that gets you moving. Try as many classes as possible to see what you connect with. At OptumCare, every class is offered to people age 55 and older at no cost. You can try a chair yoga class, meditation, Zumba gold, tai chi and line dancing. Just find something that makes your heart happy.