Held the last Wednesday in May and entering its 26th year, National Senior Health & Fitness Day this year is observed on May 28, 2019.
Helping to keep older American adults fit and healthy in every area of their lives is the main goal of National Senior Health & Fitness Day, a nationally recognized health and wellness event for older adults. This day not only provides suggestions regarding fitness and exercise for our elderly, it also provides information regarding physical health — and how exercise not only benefits seniors physically, but helps their mental and emotional health as well.
Older adults at all levels of physical fitness are encouraged to participate in National Senior Health & Fitness Day, with the goal 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.
Observing National Senior Health & Fitness Day
National Senior Health and Fitness Day provides ideas ranging from small group exercises to taking local walking tours and attending health fairs. The programs recommended include not only exercise and encouraging various forms of physical activity, but also recommend providing pertinent information about the health and welfare of senior citizens.
These are just a few ideas of what can be done on National Senior Health and Fitness Day, as well as every day.
- Stretching: This exercise is easy to do, but must be done slowly and carefully to avoid injury.
- Walking: This exercise may be more challenging for some more than others, but is very beneficial to everyone, no matter how much or how little they walk. For those who may be wheelchair-bound but can still use their legs, moving themselves with their feet also helps with lower extremity circulation. Walking doesn’t have to be structured, and can include a walk with close friends and family members.
- Dancing: Dancing can be incorporated in most everyone’s life, no matter their physical limitations. Whether signed up for a Zumba class or in the comfort of your own kitchen, there are endless possibilities when it comes to dancing, as it can be done just about anywhere.
Additional Senior Health And Fitness Day Suggestions
There are multiple ways we suggest your seniors can get active in honor of National Senior Health and Fitness Day:
1. Go to the Park
Park and Recreational Departments are getting involved in National Senior Health and Fitness Day, encouraging the opportunity for seniors to get out in nature. Seniors can organize their own day at the park, depending on physical limitations.
2. Attend a Fitness Class
What more appropriate way to spend National Senior Health and Fitness Day than by attending a fitness class? Whether at a local community center or private gym, look for a structured workout session. Having an instructor helps demonstrate proper technique to prevent injury while a large group of people heightens motivation and energy!
Gardening is a leisurely hobby promoting both health and fitness. Attend to a personal or community garden or plant a garden bed or pot filled with fresh produce of herbs.
4. Schedule A Health Screening
Along with being active, be proactive with health. Scheduling a health screening keeps seniors in the know of their own personal health and offers a chance to take preventative measures or actions, which may also be dependent on the physical results and discussions held with a healthcare professional.
Volunteering is a chance to offer health and wellbeing not only to yourself, but the ability to extend it to others. Seek out volunteer options at health fairs to spread the word of good health, food pantries to offer nutrition to individuals in need, or any other opportunities available in your community or area.
Healthy Habits For Seniors
The American Heart Association provides Heart Healthy Tips for Seniors for improving your heart health. You can keep your heart healthy no matter how old you are, by making changes in your everyday habits. Here’s how to get started:
- Get enough exercise. Physical activity is one of the best ways to improve heart health. The American Heart Association recommends that individuals perform at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise.
- Quit smoking. If you’re still smoking, it’s time to quit. There are many benefits to living a smoke-free life including improved circulation, reduced risk of certain types of cancer, and feeling more energetic.
- Watch your numbers. Get regular check-ups to monitor health conditions that affect the heart, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes, and make sure they’re under control with medication.
- Reduce your alcohol intake. Excess alcohol consumption can worsen health conditions that contribute to heart disease, such as high blood pressure, arrhythmias, and high cholesterol levels.
- Watch your weight. To help prevent heart disease, maintain a healthy body weight for your size. Too many pounds can add up to increased heart disease risk.
- Get better sleep. It’s critical for seniors (and everyone) to have a good night’s sleep. Most experts say that seniors should sleep between seven and nine hours each night. Sleep is beneficial for brain functionality, metabolism, immune functionality and emotional well-being.
- Reduce stress factors. According studies, stress can compound many heart disease risks that older adults already face, like high blood pressure. Take the time to find healthy outlets to relieve stress and lower your risk of heart disease.
The MIND Diet
For caregivers and families of those living with Alzheimer’s, a healthy diet can be beneficial for protecting your own heart and mind health.
The MIND diet stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. This diet combines the elements of two other popular nutrition plans which have been proven to benefit heart health: the Mediterranean diet and the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet. The MIND diet has been shown to very effective, and it breaks its recommendations down into 10 “brain healthy food groups” a person should eat and five “unhealthy food groups” to avoid. Many recent studies have shown that the MIND diet may reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by as much as 53 percent. While there are many factors (including genetics and heredity) that we can’t control, the MIND diet plan is recommended for everyone in helping reduce the risk factors associated with developing Alzheimer’s disease down the road.
“Brain Healthy Food Groups”
- Green leafy vegetables: Kale, spinach, broccoli, collards and other greens are packed with vitamins A and C and other nutrients. At least two servings a week can help, and researchers found six or more servings a week provide the greatest brain benefits.
- Nuts: Nuts are shown to have huge benefits and are a good snack for brain health, according to the MIND diet study. Nuts contain healthy fats, fiber and antioxidants, and other studies have found they can help lower bad cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Beans: High in fiber and protein, and low in calories and fat, beans also help keep your mind sharp as part of the MIND diet.
- Whole grains: Proven to be a key component of the MIND diet.
- Fish: one serving of fish per week was shown to help protect brain function.
- Poultry: another part of a brain-healthy eating plan, it is recommended to have two or more servings a week of lean poultry.
- Olive oil: researchers found people who used olive oil as their primary oil at home saw greater protection against cognitive decline.
- Wine: One glass of wine per day rounds out the list of of 10 “brain healthy” food groups.
The Message Of National Senior Health and Fitness Day
The overall message for this day is: If you keep moving, you will keep improving! Most people need some form of motivation to get exercise to be an integral part of their lives. Participating in this day’s events may be the motivator many may need. Once they have participated in some of the activities of the day, they will see how good they feel after doing them, and will want to incorporate exercise into their daily routine.
Find more information on how to celebrate National Senior Health and Fitness Day events here.
With increased awareness, education and lifestyle changes, we can help more seniors live longer, fuller, healthier lives and be an advocate for healthy habits.
At Unicity Healthcare, you can benefit from the expertise of our experienced Senior Advisors if you are concerned about a loved one’s care, and don’t know where to turn. If you are considering a change regarding the caregiving of your older loved one, we can help provide information about the services we provide.
Making your home a safe haven by preparing a home for aging loved ones can be a stressful task. Don’t try to do it alone. Unicity’s qualified home care professionals are here to help ease the burden.
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