Yoga For Seniors

Yoga For Seniors

Yoga Functional Strength For Seniors

When looking at senior living in Atlanta, Orchard at Brookhaven invites you to take a closer look at why this community is special. One reason is because we have a holistic approach to well-being which includes making your life work for you.

What Does Making Life Work For You Mean?

Making your life work for you means:

  • Finding the right fit in living accommodations
  • Offering opportunities for education
  • Spirituality
  • Community outreach projects
  • Social events
  • Exercise

The Role of Exercise

Exercise is vitally important for a healthy life.

We all know injuries can happen in the gym but how many times have you heard someone say they injured their back carrying groceries? Or tweaked their knee walking up the stairs?

Injuries from routine activity happens more often than people would like to admit. Especially if I am living with a chronic condition and more weak or vulnerable than I used to be. Your muscle mass and strength will decrease 30 – 50% between the ages of 30 and 80.

That means the average person starts losing the ability to perform everyday functions when they hit middle age.  This is why functional strength training has become such a hot topic and will be built into the activities of daily living for residents living at Orchard of Brookhaven.

What is Functional Strength?

Functional strength training is defined as: “Training that attempts to mimic the specific physiological demands of real-life activities.”

Functional training such as resistance exercises and body weight movements can help you become stronger, more flexible, agiler and better equipped to handle day-to-day feats of strength and athleticism that are often overlooked. Plus, it can help you become less injury-prone.

A common misconception is that you may be too old for strength training. But clinical data from a multitude of sources clearly shows the benefits of improving one’s functional fitness level, particularly for older adults.

Benefits of Functional Strength Training

Functional strength training is something all adults could really benefit from, and it’s never too late to reap the benefits.

  • A study of 87 adults aged 65-93 years published in the American Journal of Health Promotion showed that functional ability improved for functionally limited elderly people who participated in a 16-week structured exercise program consisting of thirteen different strength training exercises using a Thera-Band resistance band.
  • In another study, researchers tested the effects of 12 weeks of resistance training on the isometric strength, explosive power, and selected functional abilities of healthy women aged 75 and over, they saw statistically significant improvements in 4 out of 5 exercises measured.

One of the best programs for functional strength is yoga. Orchard at Brookhaven will offer senior yoga classes for residents and the local Atlanta community.

Yoga Benefits

Yoga has been around for more than 5,000 years. Yoga does more than burn calories and tone muscles. It’s a total mind-body workout that combines strengthening and stretching poses with deep breathing and meditation or relaxation.

There are more than 100 different forms of yoga. Some are fast-paced and intense. Others are gentle and relaxing.

Types of Yoga

Examples of different yoga forms include:

  • Hatha. The form most often associated with yoga, it combines a series of basic movements with breathing.
  • Vinyasa. A series of poses that flow smoothly into one another.
  • Power. A faster, higher-intensity practice that builds muscle.
  • Ashtanga. A series of poses, combined with a special breathing technique.
  • Bikram. Also known as “hot yoga,” it’s a series of 26 challenging poses performed in a room heated to a high temperature.
  • Iyengar. A type of yoga that uses props like blocks, straps, and chairs to help you move your body into the proper alignment

For more information and the holistic approach to well-being and living, or to find out more about the senior yoga classes, please contact us.

Best Exercises For Seniors

Best Exercises For Seniors

What Kind of Exercise Should Seniors Be Doing?

Exercise is a safe activity for most individuals. However, it is desirable for adults to have a screening prior to starting an exercise program or taking an exercise test. Age, health status, type of test and exercise plans are factors that determine the depth of an evaluation required or needed for medical involvement. Seniors in particular should consult with a physician before beginning an exercise program to ensure that it is the best fit for you, and many aspects will be considered including:

Current Fitness Level

  • Sedentary – inactive habits such as sitting most of the day
  • Exercising 2-3 days a week
  • Exercising 4-5 days a week
  • Type of exercise currently engaged in – aerobic exercise or anaerobic exercise
  • Type of exercise program being explored

Environment and Accessibility to It

  • Where can you exercise?
  • What equipment or attire will you need?

Health Status

  • Do you have any current disabilities?
  • High Blood pressure
  • Elevated Cholesterol
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Family history of coronary or cardiovascular disease prior to age 50
  • Are there any medications that might contraindicate the type of exercise plan you are exploring?

Support Structure

  • Is there someone that can support you in your efforts?
  • Will you need oversight for someone you are caring for in order to be able to implement a new focus on your health or exercise routine?

Orchard at Brookhaven will provide a complimentary coaching session to anyone in the Atlanta area to discuss health and wellbeing needs to do with chronic disease.  Our luxury Senior Living is more than a residence building, but it is a community resource you can utilize for council and feedback, so please reach out to us!

Types of Exercise For Seniors

Aerobic Exercise

This is a system of physical conditioning intended to improve the body’s ability to take in and use oxygen. Aerobic exercises, such as running, jogging, swimming, and dancing, stimulate heart and lung activity. To produce a benefit, aerobic training must raise the heart rate (pulse) to the exerciser’s training level for at least 20 minutes and include at least three sessions a week.

Anaerobic Exercise

Anaerobic sports and exercise, such as gymnastics, weight lifting, and sprinting, are of high intensity but short duration, so they don’t involve much oxygen intake.

Most Beneficial Exercise For Seniors

Aerobic activity is the most beneficial type of exercise program. Here are some reasons why:

  • Aerobic exercise is sometimes known as “cardio” — exercise that requires pumping of oxygenated blood by the heart to deliver oxygen to working muscles.
  • Aerobic exercise stimulates the heart rate and breathing rate to increase in a way that can be sustained for the exercise session. Examples of aerobic exercises include cardio machines, spinning, running, swimming, walking, hiking, aerobics classes, dancing, cross country skiing, and kickboxing. There are many other types.
  • Aerobic exercise not only improves fitness; it also has known benefits for both physical and emotional health.
  • Aerobic exercise can help prevent or reduce the chance of developing some cancers, diabetes, depression, cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis.
  • An aerobic exercise plan should be simple, practical, and realistic.

Benefits of Aerobic Exercise For Seniors

Regular aerobic exercise can:

  • Strengthen the heart and enables it to pump more blood with each beat. Conditioned hearts also have greater diameter and mass and they pump efficiently enough to allow for greater filling time, which is a good thing because it means that more blood fills the chambers of the heart before they pump so that more blood gets pumped with each beat.
  • A strengthened heart doesn’t have to pump as fast to meet the demands of exercise. Fewer beats and more stroke volume mean greater efficiency.
  • Because of the increased blood flow from a healthy heart, muscles will get more oxygen which they need.
  • The cells inside the muscles that burn oxygen increase in number and activity which burns fat and carbohydrates that keep you moving.. They increase in number and activity, by as much as 50%, in just a matter of days to weeks in response to regular aerobic exercise in adults of all ages.

Aerobic exercise is usually done between 60-90% of your maximum heart rate. Maximum heart rate for age is an elusive number. The usual equation is 220 – age = maximum heart rate (MHR).

Other Things to Consider

  • Make it fun
  • Make a routine – but stress your body in different ways, so create some opportunities for change.
  • Wear good shoes
  • Hydration – stay hydrated!
  • Headsets – Make sure you are in a safe environment if using headsets or only use one earbud.

You should feel rested and not tired within an hour after exercise.

If you develop chest pain, pounding heart beats, increased heart rate, or dizziness during your workouts, you should stop and seek medical advice because something has changed. It is never a bad idea to discuss your exercise, health, and risk factors with your physician; and at age 52, you should be meeting with your physician every year or two to look at health and prevention issues.

Exercise for Seniors in Atlanta

Exercise In Senior Living Facilities

When living a healthy lifestyle, there are many things to consider and exercise needs to be one of the top items on your list. If you are looking at senior living facilities in Atlanta, it will be very important to know whether the community provides the right environment and support for healthy living including ways to stay active. Orchard at Brookhaven is one such community and is thrilled to offer residents 40 thousand square feet of outdoor greenspace inside the Atlanta perimeter. This outdoor space in Brookhaven, Georgia will encourage residents daily exercise routines and includes a large exercise patio and equipment to use personally or in combination with doctor recommended physical therapists from Healthpro Heritage, who are available onsite daily.

Benefits of Exercise For Seniors

Exercise has proven to be extremely important to healthy living. Exercise has been shown to improve mood and decrease feelings of depression, anxiety and stress. Here are some additional benefits:

  • It produces changes in the parts of the brain that regulate stress and anxiety.
  • Exercise can increase the production of endorphins, which are known to help produce positive feelings and reduce the perception of pain.
  • Exercise has been shown to reduce symptoms in people suffering from anxiety.

Exercise & Preventing Weight Gain For Seniors

Some studies have shown that inactivity is a major factor in weight gain and obesity. To understand the effect of exercise on weight reduction, it is important to understand the relationship between exercise and energy expenditure. Your body spends energy in three ways:

  1. Digesting food
  2. Exercising
  3. maintaining body functions like your heartbeat and breathing

While dieting, a reduced calorie intake will lower your metabolic rate, which will delay weight loss. On the contrary, regular exercise has been shown to increase your metabolic rate, which will burn more calories and help you lose weight.

Maintaining Strong Muscles and Bones

Exercise plays a vital role in building and maintaining strong muscles and bones. Physical activity like weight lifting can stimulate muscle building with the proper amount of protein in your diet.

With age, people tend to lose muscle mass and function. This can lead to injuries and decreased abilities. Practicing regular physical activity is essential to reducing muscle loss and maintaining strength as you age.

Exercise & Increased Energy

Exercise can increase energy. One study found that six weeks of regular exercise reduced feelings of being tired for 36 healthy people who had reported persistent fatigue. Studies have also found that chronic disease has been linked to a lack of regular exercise.

Regular exercise has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, cardiovascular fitness and, decrease blood pressure and blood fat levels.

Can Exercise Help Your Memory?

Exercise can improve brain function and protect memory and thinking skills. Here are some points to consider:

  • Exercise increases heart rate, which promotes the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain.
  • Exercise can prevent chronic disease which can turn into benefits for the brain, since its function can be affected by these diseases.
  • Regular physical activity is especially important in older adults because it reduces the stress and inflammation that occur during aging and promotes changes in brain structure and function.
  • Exercise has been shown to cause the hippocampus to grow in size. The hippocampus is a part of the brain that’s vital for memory and learning.

Exercise & Sleep Benfits

Regular exercise can help increase relaxation and better sleep. Here are a couple points:

  • Exercise stimulates recuperative processes during sleep.
  • The increase in body temperature that occurs during exercise is thought to improve sleep quality by helping it drop during sleep.
  • One study found that 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous activity per week can provide up to a 65% improvement in sleep quality.

Exercise & Chronic Pain

Exercise can reduce chronic pain. A review of several studies indicates that exercise helps participants with chronic pain reduce their pain and improve their quality of life. Several studies have also shown that exercise can help control pain that is associated with various health conditions, including but not limited to, chronic low back pain, fibromyalgia and chronic soft tissue shoulder disorder.

There is a lot of information about exercise, and it might be difficult to know where to start. The next article from Orchard at Brookhaven will review different types of exercise and how to start becoming more active. Please always consult with your physician before beginning a new exercise program.

Meditation For Seniors and Benefits

Meditation For Seniors & Benefits

Orchard at Brookhaven is Atlanta’s newest luxury senior living facility with a focus towards holistic well-being of the residents that live there and visitors from the surrounding community that come to enjoy classes, activities and community service projects. One of the many things that Orchard at Brookhaven will offer is a meditation classes.

What Is Meditation

Meditation is an approach to training the mind, similar to the way that fitness is an approach to training the body. Most people think of meditation as a special, relaxed state of mind- one that we maintain for an extended period of time and, with practice, stray for only occasionally. Meditation, however, is when we are aware of the wandering of our mind and bring it back, over and over to the movement of the breath, to the posture of the body, and to itself. We repeatedly return to body, mind, and breath. Meditation is just to be here. Not over there, in some other place called peace or freedom or enlightenment. Not longing for something else. Not trying to be, or acquire something new or different.

Concentration Meditation

One way to begin meditating is by focusing on the breath — an example of one of the most common approaches to meditation: concentration.

Concentration meditation involves focusing on a single point. This could entail following the breath, repeating a single word or mantra, staring at a candle flame, listening to a repetitive gong, or counting beads on a mala. Since focusing the mind is challenging, a beginner might meditate for only a few minutes and then work up to longer durations.

In this form of meditation, you simply refocus your awareness on the chosen object of attention each time you notice your mind wandering. Rather than continuing to think about these random thoughts, you simply let them go. Through this process, your ability to concentrate improves.

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation encourages the practitioner to observe wandering thoughts as they pop up and drift through the mind. The intention is not to get involved with the thoughts or to judge them, but simply to be aware of each mental note as it arises.
Through mindfulness meditation, , you can become more aware of the human tendency to quickly judge an experience as good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant. With practice, an inner balance develops.

Other Meditation Techniques

In some schools of meditation, students practice a combination of concentration and mindfulness.

There are various other meditation techniques. For example, a daily meditation practice among Buddhist monks focuses directly on the cultivation of compassion. This involves envisioning negative events and recasting them in a positive light by transforming them through compassion.

There are also moving meditation techniques, such as tai chi, qigong, and walking meditation.

Meditation Benefits

Studies on meditation and the practice of focusing on the mind, body and breath, have shown that meditation can have positive effects on the nervous system.

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improved blood circulation
  • Lower heart rate
  • Less perspiration
  • Slower respiratory rate
  • Less anxiety
  • Lower blood cortisol levels
  • More feelings of well-being
  • Less stress
  • Deeper relaxation

Researchers are now exploring whether a consistent meditation practice can bring about long-term benefits, and noting positive effects on brain and immune function among meditators. However, remember, that the purpose of meditation is to simply to be present.

In Buddhist philosophy, the ultimate benefit of meditation is liberation of the mind from attachment to things it cannot control. When the mind is free or “enlightened” practitioner no longer needlessly focuses on and moves toward desires or clings to experiences, but instead maintains a calm mind and sense of inner harmony.

Simple Meditation Technique

This meditation exercise is an excellent introduction to meditation techniques.

  1. Sit or lie comfortably.
  2. Close your eyes.
  3. Make no effort to control the breath; simply breathe naturally.
  4. Focus your attention on the breath and on how the body moves with each inhalation and exhalation. Notice the movement of your body as you breathe. Observe your chest, shoulders, rib cage, and belly. Simply focus your attention on your breath without controlling its pace or intensity. If your mind wanders, notice the thought without judgement and return your focus back to your breath.

Orchard at Brookhaven will provide Atlanta area meditation classes and access to yoga along with other opportunities to create well-being in your life.

Holistic Approach to Life

Holistic Approach to Life: Body, Heart, Mind & Spirit

There are many things to consider when talking about living a holistic healthy life. In this article we’ll touch on 4 different areas.


Our bodies need rest. Studies show that the vast majority of people need 8 hours of sleep a day. The available research states there are a few people who can sleep five hours or less each night, and there are others at the opposite end of the distribution who need nine to ten hours of sleep. But the eight-hour mark in the curve is where most human beings must fall in order to turn in a good performance, and too few of us currently achieve that standard.

If it is difficult being able to get a good night’s rest, there may be respite programs, day programs or in home care that you can utilize in order to get some rest or have time to get a break from caregiving. Geriatrician Dr. Rosemary writes in her book Take Your Oxygen First, that it is imperative that we find ways to take care of ourselves in order to be able to be there for the person living with dementia.

Diet is another way to reduce stress in our life.  Cutting out processed, fried and high calorie foods is a good place to start. If you have been overwhelmed by the amount of advice and contradicting literature that is out on a healthy diet, here are some very basic steps to starting to eat well.

  • Omega 3’s are probably the single most important nutrient we need for brain health.
  • Eating healthy fats which include: monosaturated fats like olive oil and fat from avocado, saturated fats from grass-fed beef, eggs, butter and yogurt and coconut oil, and unsaturated fats from fish oil, flax oil and raw nuts.
  • Reducing your sugar intake is another easy way to improve your diet and exercise is really important to reducing stress and having a healthy lifestyle.

Exercise is also an important factor in reducing negative stress and adding some positive stress to the body. Exercise that is the most beneficial is aerobic exercise. Twenty minutes of walking or swimming will improve your health and can decrease stress. Some simple ways to take care of your body is to, exercise 4-6 days a week, increasing your omega-3’s, Vitamin D, eliminating sugar, and getting better sleep. Finally, abdominal breathing for 20 to 30 minutes each day will reduce anxiety and reduce.


It is important to find ways to improve our emotional life. Being a caregiver to someone who is living with brain change, can be emotionally draining. We can also not only go through the cycle of grief many times, but we also have different kinds of grief.  We grieve in many ways, including, the loss of how the person used to be, when they seem to be different because of their brain change. We can have anticipatory grief for what is to come, and we grieve the changing stages of dementia. Our brain is designed for joy, love, and connection. It thrives in positive emotional conditions. It is important to find people with whom we can connect and find support when we are caregivers, and a good resource is the Alzheimers Associate Atlanta Chapter.


When we learn new things, and engage our brains in fun and creative ways, our brain is stimulated. Reading, and writing have been shown to help maintain brain health, as well as working our memory, learning new information or new ways of doing a task. If you can find new routes to the store, pick up a new hobby or learn something new on the computer, or write in a journal, this learning will help reduce your stress and can improve brain health. The website Games For the Brain is an easy way to start.


It is also so very important to recognize and value our spiritual life. For some of us our spiritual path includes a religious tradition, but it can also be found in nature, in sacred spaces, being with people who share our beliefs and values. In times of stress and difficulty, sometimes it is hard to find ways to slow down and quiet our mind in order to meditate and pray. One way that helps us move into a space where we are able to quiet our mind is to find our spiritual on-ramp. This on-ramp is the way that we are oriented to our world. There are all kinds of misconceptions about how we should meditate and pray but the one way that can really help is finding our spiritual on-ramp.

We are all oriented to our world differently and therefore your meditation may not look like someone else’s meditation or prayer. Some people are oriented to their world through their sight. If you are a person who is visual, you may find your spiritual on-ramp through different sights; just as if you are a person who is oriented to their world through sound, you may find your on-ramp through music or guided meditation through a drumming circle or nature sounds. If you are a person who loves to move, you may find your best ways of meditating are when walking, dancing, or doing another kind of movement.

Final Stress Reduction Tip

One more tip to decrease the  stress of an already a very busy life with many decisions to make, is to sit down and write up a list of things that you can do to reduce our stress in your life. Therefore, when you find that you are feeling stressed, you do not have to think about what to do, just go to the list and pick out something!

At The Orchard, we want to be part of your solution and help make your life work for you! We do this by supporting you in a holistic approach to life and focus on the body, heart, mind and spirit, and are always open to being flexible and creating new opportunities to make your life work for you. We have a highly trained team seeking that you and your loved one keep your focus on the health and well-being a holistic approach to live can create, no matter a medical condition.