Get Moving For National Senior Health & Fitness Day!
May 30th marks the 19th annual National Senior Health & Fitness Day celebrating the theme: “Get Moving…Start Improving!”
On National Senior Health & Fitness Day, hundreds of local organizations host a variety of health and fitness events including walks, health screenings, health information workshops, and much more!
This year, over 100,000 older adults at more than 1,000 locations across the US will participate in activities with the common goal of keeping older Americans healthy and fit.
"Older adults at all levels of physical fitness are encouraged to participate in National Senior Health & Fitness Day," says Patricia Henze, NSHFD program manager. "Our goals for Senior Day are to make exercise fun, [and] to increase awareness of the benefits of a regular exercise program for older adults…”.
Physical activity is an effective way to achieve healthy body and mind regardless of age. With the “unofficial” start to summer underway, it is a great reminder to quit hibernating indoors, to go out, and “Get Moving”!
Getting older does not mean you have to stop enjoying your life, but if you're worried about physical limitations slowing you down, worry not. There are plenty of activities in which you can still easily take part right in the comfort of your own home and community!
So how can you celebrate lifelong health and wellbeing? Here’s a list of activities seniors can do safely to take part in National Senior Fitness Day and all summer long:
- Try Water Exercise - Water aerobics place less impact on the body and joints, reducing inflammation and neuropathy. An ideal activity medium for seniors, the body uses the weight of the water to strengthen muscle groups while raising the heart rate. To improve balance, try performing lower body exercises such as leg swings in a pool or swim spa. Another way great way to burn calories is pool walking – power walk the pool perimeter and add hand weights for extra burn!
- Enjoy Favorite Hobbies - Simply pursing the things that invigorate you can help you stay active. When looking for ways to get healthy, you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Thinking through the things you love to do the most will provide a good starting point in finding the best activities for your lifestyle. Do you like fishing? How about gardening? These “back to nature” activities are a great way to get moving.
- Find a mall-walking program – Shopping malls are excellent, safe places to be active. Enclosed shopping areas offer the benefit of talking a walk rain or shine and the air-conditioned environment is good for avoiding the summer heat, which can be dangerous for older adults. Since walkers generally arrive early before shops open, they avoid busy, noisy crowds. Malls typically offer maps that include routes and distances for easy navigation. Check at information station of your local mall to find out if they offer a program for mall walking; they may require identification buttons or offer fun goodies for walkers who join their walking program.
- Have fun with Group Outings – Your local community center is a great place to start if you are to stay active and find adventure. Many centers offer opportunities for senior group outings, such as trips to major cities, zoos, and summer festivals. Other fun options may include flea markets, crafts shows, outdoor concerts, or a boat ride. Discover fun places and log bonus physical activity by walking while exploring! It’s also a great opportunity for companionship and to connect with new friends and neighbors.
Important Tips to Before You Start
- Before starting any new activity, consult your doctor to make sure exercising is suitable for you. This is especially true if you suffer from chest pain, shortness of breath, a heart condition, and bone or joint problems.
- With any new activity, start out slowly and build up to a comfortable level of fitness
- Stay hydrated. Be sure to drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. We lose water quickly during the hot and humid summer months. Healthy older adults should aim for 6-8 glasses of water intake per day.
eCaring wants to hear YOUR fitness success stories!
Have you started an exercise program with an older adult in your life recently? How did you do it? What motivates you? What novel ways have you found to engage aging parents in exercise?