How Libraries Help Seniors Stay Fit: Wyoming

Wyoming libraries are helping seniors stay fit

Exercise provides significant benefits for older adults.

Engaging in regular, gentle physical activity can help prevent various health issues associated with aging while also enhancing strength and balance. However, traditional gyms may not always cater to the specific needs of seniors. This is where libraries step in to bridge the gap.

Across the country, libraries are actively supporting older adults in maintaining their fitness by organizing exercise programs tailored to their unique requirements. High-intensity workouts, which involve heavy lifting and strenuous resistance exercises, are generally discouraged for seniors due to safety concerns and a higher risk of injury.

To address these issues, libraries offering fitness programs have created specialized low-impact workout routines that prioritize the safety of seniors. These exercise routines often incorporate activities like yoga, gentle stretching, and light cardiovascular exercises such as walking. These activities are particularly advantageous for seniors as they contribute to overall fitness, improve flexibility, and reduce the risk of injury.

Why Exercise at the Library?

Libraries are uniquely suited to offer exercise programs tailored to the needs of seniors. Libraries hold a special place in people's trust, with approximately 78% of Americans believing they can find reliable information within library walls and within their digital resources. For many seniors, libraries serve a broader purpose beyond book repositories. Libraries are inclusive, welcoming spaces where you don't need to pay an entrance fee or make purchases to feel at home. They typically provide comfortable seating and helpful staff, and they actively consider the needs of seniors when designing their spaces and programs.

Furthermore, it's important to note that libraries aren’t traditional gyms. They don't foster a culture that induces self-consciousness or discomfort. Libraries are often conveniently located, even for seniors who don't drive, as many public transportation systems have stops near libraries. Senior exercise programs offered at libraries serve as social and enjoyable gatherings for a segment of the American population that often grapples with isolation. These programs create a sense of inclusion and community, offering seniors a warm welcome. 

Libraries can also offer exercise opportunities that you won’t find in gyms, but are perfect for seniors– like motion-controlled video games! Let’s Move in Libraries, an organization that promotes a specialized senior library fitness program, notes that of the more than 500 seniors who participated in their programs, 77% reported their generalized well-being had gotten better, 63% reported their overall physical activity levels had gotten better, and 61% reported their balance had gotten better.

The Delaware Journal of Public Health points out that libraries “have long been a mental and emotional sanctuary for many users.”  These exercise classes are just one of the many ways libraries support their senior patrons both physically and mentally. Given that isolation and loneliness present serious health risks to seniors, exercise programs at public libraries can play a crucial role in preventing these issues.

What Exercise Programs Do Wyoming Libraries Offer?

Wyoming’s excellent public libraries offer several different health resources. In addition to the programming outlined below, several branches let you check out blood pressure cuffs so you can monitor that aspect of your health at home. 

Encampment Library

  • Sakura Yoga and Fitness
    • A weekly program held on Mondays from 4-5, all levels are invited to come practice free yoga.
  • Encampment Library (Carbon County Libraries) 

Cody Library

  • Healthy Living for Your Brain and Body
    • This afternoon class for seniors, sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association, will teach seniors about research in the areas of diet and nutrition, exercise, cognitive activity, and social engagement, and use hands-on tools to help you incorporate these recommendations into a plan for healthy aging for your brain and body.
  • Cody Library Event Page

Laramie County Library

  • Healthy Body, Healthy Mind Chair Yoga
    • Join the Laramie County Library in Cheyenne for gentle Chair Yoga with Toni Brannan from Blossom Yoga Studio every second and fourth Wednesday of the month. We will practice yoga while seated or standing for 45 minutes. Afterward, participants are invited to share an inspiring literature-related item: a gratitude, a poignant poem, a favorite quote. Perhaps you would like to share a recipe? All equipment provided. No prior yoga experience needed.
  • Positive Aging
    • The Laramie County Library’s Positive Aging events aren’t just exercise– they’re fun social events. These programs start with gentle chair yoga and progress into movie nights
  • Laramie County Library

Many local libraries advertise their public events on social media, like Facebook and Instagram. If you use those platforms, it’s worth it to follow your local library– no matter where you live. Sometimes there will be information that isn’t on a library’s main website. If your library doesn’t offer senior exercise classes, ask your librarian about the possibility of introducing some gentle movement classes to the lineup of programs.

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.