Maintaining independence is an important focus for those entering their senior years. Along with independence must be the ability to remain active— specifically focusing on keeping up with your strength, fitness, and balance.
The SAIL program, which stands for “Stay Active and Independent for Life,” is an evidence-based strength, balance, and fitness program targeted primarily towards community dwelling adults who are typically age 65 and older. It is promoted by the state of Washington as part of its fall prevention initiative.
“Falls are the leading cause of injury-related hospitalizations and deaths among older individuals. Even less serious falls can result in a loss of functional ability, diminished socialization, and a decrease in quality of life,” states Carrie Coen, Director of Summit Therapy.
About the SAIL Class
One of the hallmarks of the SAIL classes is that they are suitable for a diverse group of participants, regardless of age, gender, or functional status. The program accepts participants of any age, but the 65-plus group is really where the evidence of effectiveness exists.
The 60-minute class allows for a warm-up, aerobic exercise to stimulate heart rate, strengthening exercises for both upper and lower body, and full-body stretching. All of the exercises have the flexibility to be done in a standing position, in a sitting position if participants are not able to do them standing, or a combination of both.
“Sometimes we’ll have people who just aren’t feeling well on a particular day. They might choose to do some of the exercises sitting down rather than standing up,” notes Coen.
While the program is designed for individuals who are living independently in the community, it has also extended to a few assisted living facilities in the area. “I think in terms of an ideal population, it includes anyone who feels like they could benefit from the exercise,” adds Coen.
Results You can Expect to Achieve from the SAIL Class
The SAIL program’s main goal is to reduce the risk of falling, but it also has additional benefits. Increased overall energy, maintaining a healthy weight, more confidence in mobility, and better sleep are all outcomes participants can expect to achieve. Another benefit is the social aspect of an exercise group.
“Friends oftentimes come to class, but even if it’s somebody you don’t know, this group becomes friendly with one another and they do things outside of class,” shares Coen. “Some of our classes want to have potlucks every quarter, so we just set it up after class. We celebrate together like that. This year, three or four of our classes actually decided to dress up for Halloween, which was great.”
The SAIL classes are listed on our events calendar, with the different times, dates, and locations. All classes are free and open to the public to attend.