by Stuart Bunting, president & CEO, Rappahannock Westminster-Canterbury
Those early morning joggers and walkers you see next week might look a bit different from the ones you usually encounter. There may be more cyclists or new folks in your weekly aerobics class. You might notice more enthusiasm under the sweat bands and even a few more sparkles in the eyes of your fellow exercisers. That’s because the last week of September is Active Aging Week, an annual national observance that encourages our community’s senior adults to stay active.
And active they are.
There was a time when reaching a certain age meant retiring to the rocking chair or afternoons of shuffleboard. However, those stereotypes have long been shattered. Today senior adults recognize the importance of keeping active. One of the key factors in preserving independence as we age is maintaining strength and flexibility. Studies at the National Institute on Aging have shown that regular exercise and strength training can significantly reduce the effects of aging.
That is the emphasis of Active Aging Week – encouraging those over 50 to stay moving or get moving. Organizations around the country – retirement communities, senior centers, health clubs, recreation centers and age-restricted developments – are sponsoring a range of free activities at their locations and around their communities. At Rappahannock Westminster-Canterbury, our residents prove that very week of the year is Active Aging Week. You will find them engaged in Wii bowling tournaments, swimming in the pool or taking part in one or more of our morning Fitness for Life Classes. In fact, more than 70 percent of our residents regularly participate in these fitness programs and have consistently done so over the last five years.
During Active Aging Week, we make it a point to open our classes and programs to residents of the larger community – our friends and neighbors – so you can join in and share the success our residents already experience. We invite everyone, and those 60 and over in particular, to take part in our morning fitness classes, partake of a session on nutrition complete with a cooking demonstration and lunch, participate in the disc golf tournament and attend Dr. Joe Bessler’s lecture, Things You Want to Know About Aging But Are Afraid to Ask. (This should be really interesting…)
We hope you can be with us for Wednesday’s Wellness Carnival, a traditional country carnival with a wellness twist including a horseshoe contest and egg and spoon race, bottle ring toss and many other events. If you don’t win, there is a hugging booth to make everything better.
Most importantly, we encourage you – at whatever age you happen to be – to get active, not only next week, but for the rest of your life.