National Senior Health and Fitness Day is the nation’s largest annual health promotion event for older adults and is celebrated on the last Wednesday in May. This year, the date is May 31st and the theme is “With Movement, There’s Improvement!”.
Older adults—regardless of age—are encouraged to participate in NSHFD events being held at more than 1,000 locations throughout the U.S. Among the many organizations participating are health clubs, hospitals, retirement communities and senior centers.
In addition to being active on May 31st, organizers hope older adults across the country will maintain an active lifestyle and include exercise as part of their daily routine.
The National Institutes of Health mirror this philosophy finding that being physically active on a regular basis is one of the healthiest things we can do for ourselves. Studies have shown that exercise provides many health benefits and that older adults can gain a lot by staying physically active. Even moderate exercise and physical activity can improve the health of people who are frail.
If you’re looking to escape the monotony of the gym or walking outdoors, there are several fun alternatives such as:
Wii fitness/games—A video game console is used to get players up and moving. It’s interactive and responds to real-world body movements. From yoga to general fitness to bowling and golfing, these “exergames” have been proven to improve coordination, heighten hand-eye coordination and reduce slips and falls.
Zumba Gold—Zumba Gold takes the popular Latin-dance inspired workout of Zumba and makes it convenient for older bodies. Zumba Gold builds cardiovascular strength by challenging the heart and working the muscles of the hips, legs and arms with dance moves.
Ballroom Dancing—With the popularity of ABC’s mega-hit, “Dancing with the Stars”, ballroom dancing has become a hit among the 65+ population looking for a nontraditional workout. In addition to being a great way to socialize with others, it has been shown to improve flexibility, strength and endurance.
Drum Circles—Drum Circles are becoming popular for all age groups, even seniors. During the class, participants play hand drums and other percussion instruments. There are several documented health benefits including increased energy, improved immunity and joint mobility and decrease in anxiety and stress.
Kickboxing—When one thinks of those 65+ exercising, kick boxing certainly isn’t one of the activities that comes to mind but it should! The combination of boxing, martial arts and aerobics has been found to work all of the major muscle groups of the body, increase the heart rate and provide conditioning for the entire cardiovascular system.
Belly Dancing—Belly dancing is quickly becoming a hit with women in their 50s and 60s. The class helps strengthen the core through dance and has been shown to improved posture and muscle toning as well as aid in digestion (exercising the abdominal area).
Don’t wait for National Senior Health & Fitness Day to get moving. Start improving today!