The weather is getting warmer, and it’s the perfect time to get outside and enjoy it. But for older friends and family, safety may be a concern. Make sure you’re having a great summer while also being aware of your health.
1. Join a senior center. There are as many different types of senior centers as there are people using them! If you haven’t checked out your local center yet, you should. Senior centers provide opportunities for exercise classes at no or very low cost, trips, volunteering, art classes, speakers, activities, and more. Many also provide transportation and meals. EAC Network operates four seniors centers in Nassau County, including Long Beach, Port Washington, Hempstead, and North Merrick.
2. We sometimes fall into the idea that it’s only exercise if we are in a structured class or using gym equipment, but our bodies don’t care if we are moving around our yard instead of a gym. The point is to get moving and keep it up. So enjoy the warmer weather and fresh air! Walking is one of the most popular forms of exercise, and for good reason. It’s free and any time is the perfect time to start a walking plan:
- Make sure you wear the right shoes. This will improve comfort, but also reduce the risk of tripping and falls.
- Find a friend to walk with you – you’ll be more likely to stick your walking plan.
- Track your distance or your time and try to make small improvements from week to week. There are many easy-to-use and inexpensive pedometers that can track how many steps you are taking each day.
- Walk at a pace where you can continue to have a conversation. If you are too out of breath to talk, you are probably exercising too hard.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Look for local walking clubs. Senior Centers and YMCAs sometime provide the space and a leader for a walking group.
- See the sights. Plan walks that allow you to explore the sites in your community.
- Summer is a good time to get out to volunteer. Delivering Meals on Wheels or making visits to vulnerable older adults in your community is a wonderful way to give back.
3. Learn a new hobby. Many Adult Education programs offer beginners courses in outdoor activities such as golf, swimming, and tennis. Senior Health Promotion brings exercise and wellness programs to Nassau County seniors. Or, teach a hobby! Share your expertise with members of your own local senior center or after school programs.
4. Spring chores, like cleaning off the porch or patio, may feel like a burden, but try to think positive – these can be a great source of exercise.
5. Try to include some stretching, some strengthening exercise, and some cardiovascular exercise in your routine. Stretching is a great warm up before cardiovascular exercise. Strengthening exercise can include weights, but someone could also use water bottles, stretch bands, your own body weight, and any other form of resistance.
However you decide to get active, it can only be beneficial. We hope these tips will help you on your wellness journey this summer!
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Angela Malone, MA, CHES is the Division Director of Behavioral Health & Criminal Justice Services. She joined EAC Network in 2010 as coordinator of the Senior Health Promotion program. She is a Certified Health Education Specialist with a Master’s in Health Communication. Her career has included a wide variety of health promotion activities, such as delivering smoking cessation education, creating website and print content for medical providers, and developing educational material for national disease awareness campaigns.