Walking & Chewing Gum at the Same Time

We’ve all heard the term “they can’t walk and chew gum at the same time”.  It turns out that there are evaluations that medical professional are doing that actually measure whether we can do such things or not.  It’s called Dual Tasking, and I first heard about it on this fabulous

interview that Steve Moran, publisher of Senior Housing Forum, did with Rob Winningham, a professor of Psychology and Gerontology at Western Oregon University.  The whole video is worth the time to watch if you are at all passionate about finding ways to prevent or delay symptoms of dementia.  But, around the 17 minute mark, Mr. Winningham mentions mixing fitness activities with brain activities – he used the term “Dual Tasking“.  I found it such a compelling idea, that I went on-line and looked up Dual Tasking and found some really interesting videos by the Gateway Geriatric Education Center, Aging Successfully.

After watching a few of the videos, and thinking about what Mr. Winningham had talked about, I got more excited about the direction that many of our Live 2 B Healthy® Trainers have been moving in the past few months with our senior fitness classes.  We have always had literally 1,000s of exercises available for our trainers to use to put together lesson plans for their classes on our Trainer Website.  We also talk a lot about changing things up every class.  No matter what our age, we all know that doing the same old thing, day after day, causes us to get bored with our exercise programs and tempts us to quit.  So, changing things up is very important to long-term motivation.   We also know that if we continue to do the same exercises, we do not experience the same benefits in terms of fitness as we do if we continue to change up our routines on a daily basis.

senior fitness balance class
C.P.T. Shane McLean watches as a class participant walks the line at his Evergreen at Mesquite class.

As it turns out, Dual Tasking is another compelling reason to change things up in our senior fitness classes.  One of the ways we have encouraged our trainers to change things up is by searching out active games on Pinterest.  I have had the idea that these activity games would increase the sociability of our classes – basically, get people working together in teams and having fun, hopefully laughing at themselves.  But, now that I have looked into Dual Tasking, I think that these senior activity games have even more benefit to our seniors that just having fun in class. Many of these activities combine concentration activities with physical movement – from throwing an object into a basket, or walking along a curving line of tape.  If the group is large enough, dividing the class into teams and doing relays of the activities can add another element of challenge.

So, if you walk by our Live 2 B Healthy® senior fitness classes and seeing us playing Fitness Bingo, rest assured that this benefits the class socially, physically and mentally.  You may even want to join in and see if you can keep up!