Primary Care in Rochester and Kasson

Physical activity as you age has many health benefits

4/27/2021 by Tara Kaufman, M.D.


Physical activity has many health benefits, including decreasing anxiety, improving balance, and improving sleep and overall health. Being active also reduces symptoms of depression, heart disease and chances of developing Type 2 diabetes. 

Some options for activity classes in the community include: 

Rochester Area Family YMCA

The Rochester Area Family YMCA is offering an evidence-based program for elderly adults called "Y's Enhance Fitness."

Participants have noted these benefits: 

  • More energy. 
  • Better balance. 
  • Increase in upper and lower body strength. 
  • More flexibility and range of motion. 
  • Better sleep. 
  • More feelings of happiness. 
  • A sense of independence. 

This program accommodates people who have arthritis, and it encourages activity. But the program makes sure that it doesn't hurt to exercise. Some activities can be performed with a chair for support if you have balance issues. The class can also help build social relationships between participants. 

125 LIVE

125 LIVE in Rochester offers evidence-based classes to help seniors, including cancer survivors; yoga for multiple sclerosis patients; and "Rock Steady Boxing" and "PWR! Moves: Improved Neurological Function," two programs geared toward Parkinson's disease patients. Morning programs geared toward seniors also are offered. 


Exercisabilities is a local nonprofit organization with scholarships, reduced fee and affordable pricing available to help keep seniors fit. This fully accessible facility has advanced fitness equipment, such as functional electrical stimulation equipment, adaptive fitness equipment, treadmills and ellipticals. Some of their equipment is not available elsewhere in the community. 

Exercisabilities also offers community-based physical and occupational therapy that focuses on neurologic diagnosis and advanced senior conditions. They offer community-based occupational therapy with the same focus. 

  • Individual Adaptive Personal Training (Therapeutic Health Promotion)
    This training involves personal trainers working with seniors suffering from neurologic conditions, arthritis, stroke, spinal cord injury, Parkinson's, cardiac conditions and more. Given the COVID-19 pandemic, they have changed group intervention focus to individualized services for safety. 
  • Additional senior wellness programming was available at Exercisabilities, but these programs are on hold due to COVID-19 including group-specialized, diagnosis-specific exercise safe programs; Stay Active and Independent; Parkinson's Wellness and Recovery; "Stroke Exercise" class; and A Matter of Balance. 

Finally, Exercisabilities has a Medicare Diabetes Prevention program scheduled to begin on May 5, with a virtual option available. This program offers rolling referral acceptance by calling Exercisabilities at 507-259-7570, or having your provider fax a referral to 888-624-3107. This class is offered for free for any senior with any Medicare product who has a prediabetes diagnosis as confirmed by a body mass index of 25 or higher and an: 

  • HbA1C of 5.7%–6.4%. 
  • Fasting plasma glucose of 100–125 milligrams per deciliter. 
  • Two-hour plasma glucose after a 75-gram glucose load of 140–190 milligrams per deciliter. 
  • Previous diagnosis of gestational diabetes (not an allowed qualification for Medicare). 

Tara Kaufman, M.D., is a physician in the Department of Family Medicine at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. She practices at Mayo Family Clinic Southeast.