About 100,000 seniors around the country are gearing up for the 20th annual National Senior Health & Fitness Day, which takes place May 28. The day marks the largest promotional event for older U.S. residents.
"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, to increase awareness of the benefits of a regular exercise program for older adults, and to encourage all older adults to take advantage of the many health and fitness programs offered in their communities."
A number of public and private facilities will hold events and programs for seniors, including health clubs, senior centers, retirement communities, parks and recreation departments, houses of worship, hospitals, health departments and more. Walking tours, health fairs and group exercise demonstrations mark just a few of the programs participants can partake in while learning about senior wellness and fitness.
The wonders of walking
Some seniors may not realize the sweeping health benefits of walking, but the low-impact workout can radically change your health and future. The Mayo Clinic said brisk walking helps participants maintain a healthy weight, prevent or manage various conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure, strengthen bones, lift mood, and improve balance and coordination. Seniors who consider themselves fans of walking should work toward doing so faster, farther and more frequently.
The clinic offered a number of suggestions for those who want to start walking, including:
- Keep your head up.
- Relax your neck, shoulders and back.
- Swing your arms freely with a slight bend in the elbows.
- Slightly tighten the stomach muscles and keep the back straight, not marched or tilted backward.
- Walk smoothly, rolling on the foot from heel to toe, to lessen impact.
The Department of Health and Human Services recommends healthy adults to get at least two hours and 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or one hour and 15 minutes of vigorous activity a week. Seniors should keep in mind that starting slow and working their way up to a longer or more intense workout is recommended to avoid too much strain.
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