How Libraries Help Seniors Stay Fit: Delaware

Delaware libraries are helping seniors stay fit

Older adults benefit substantially from exercise.

 Gentle movement on a regular basis can help stave off many of the health issues that come with aging, and can help improve strength and balance. But the gym isn’t always designed with senior needs in mind. That’s one of the many places where libraries are filling the gap. 

Libraries all around the country are assisting older adults in maintaining their fitness by organizing exercise programs tailored to their unique requirements. For seniors, high-intensity workouts, involving heavy lifting and rigorous resistance exercises, are generally not recommended as they can pose safety concerns and a higher risk of injury.

To address this, libraries offering fitness programs have devised specialized low-impact workout routines designed for seniors' safety. These exercise routines often incorporate activities like yoga, gentle stretching, and light cardio exercises such as walking. These activities are beneficial for seniors as they contribute to their overall fitness, enhance flexibility, and reduce the likelihood of injury.

Why Exercise at the Library?

Libraries are uniquely positioned for the kind of exercise programs that seniors need. People trust libraries; according to Pew research, about 78% of Americans say they can find trustworthy information at a library. For many seniors, libraries are more than just a place to find books. Libraries don’t require you to pay admission or buy something to be welcome. They generally have available seating and helpful staff– and libraries actively take seniors’ needs in mind when designing spaces and programming. 

Additionally, libraries aren’t gyms. They’re not set up for heavy activity, and they don’t have mirrors or a fitness culture that makes people feel self-conscious. Libraries are often easy for seniors to get to– even if they don’t drive, most cities and towns with public transportation have a stop near the public library.  Senior exercise programs at libraries provide a place to socialize and have fun for a segment of the American population that experiences a high amount of isolation. It makes them feel welcomed and part of the community. The Delaware Journal of Public Health points out that libraries “have long been a mental and emotional sanctuary for many users,” and these exercise classes are one way that they serve their seniors both physically and mentally. Isolation and loneliness pose serious health risks to seniors, and exercise programs at the public library can help prevent this. 

What Exercise Programs do Delaware Libraries Offer?

The state of Delaware’s library website includes information about libraries throughout the state. Many Delaware libraries participate in their HEALTH Ready! Program, which includes exercise classes, assistance with telehealth, and many more vital programs for seniors throughout the Diamond State. 

Here’s a sampling of the types of programs they have to offer, straight from the Delaware Library events calendar

South Coastal Public Library

  • Gentle Yoga Flow
    • Join Sarah Schaber, RYT-500 certified yoga instructor, for a free 1-hour gentle flow class. Ideal for beginners, seniors, and anyone looking for a slower flow practice.  All skill levels welcome. We will learn breathing techniques, postures, and exercises to promote flexibility and strength, balance, and relaxation. If you are unable to get onto the floor easily, do not worry, we will provide chairs. There are options for all!
  • South Coastal Public Library Website

Georgetown Public Library

  • Pilates
    • Join us for a free Beginner / Intermediate class for stretching and strengthening! Please wear clothing that allows you to move freely, and bring an exercise mat if you have one. If not, one will be provided for you to use while supplies last. 
  • Georgetown Public Library Website

Georgetown Public Library also sponsors a weekly group walking club!

Greenwood Public Library

  • Tai Chi
    • A weekly event held on Fridays. Instructor Rachel Susen will instruct participants in the practice of Tai Chi.  This is a beginner level class and free and open to all 16 years and older. This program is designed to promote community-based health and to foster fitness and healthy habits within individuals.
  • Chair Dancing Class
    • A weekly event held on Mondays. With the aid of a DVD, participants will engage in 45 minutes of aerobic fitness fun, all from the comfort of their own chair.  Dancing in your chair is a fun and convenient way to get aerobic exercise, tone muscles, improve flexibility and burn calories.  
  • Greenwood Public Library Website

Milton Public Library

  • Gentle Floor Yoga/Gentle Chair Yoga (two different styles for different mobility levels)
    • Come relax as you learn how to do Gently Yoga which helps the mind and body. This class will involve various styles of yoga that combine physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation or relaxation. ... It involves movement, meditation, and breathing techniques to promote mental and physical well-being.  
  • Milton Public Library

Bear Public Library 

  • Dancing for the Fun of It
    • Use of movement & dance to achieve intellectual, emotional, physical, and social well-being. Dance instructor Angel Borges will use music from Latin America such as salsa, merengue, and cha cha.
  • Bear Library (New Castle County)

Want to know more about what great library programs are offered in your state? Follow our news and updates at EveryLibrary to find out how you can support your libraries.

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