Ways to Participate in Active Aging Week (Including Some Inspiration From Our Communities)

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Though it’s inevitable that life will change as we age, getting older doesn’t have to mean slowing down completely. Founded by the International Council on Active Aging, Active Aging Week seeks to shift public perception of aging as lackluster and sedentary, by showing seniors in a positive light as “fully participating members of society. Additionally, the goal of this annual week is to encourage older adults to adopt healthier lifestyle changes in order to lead happy, full lives physical, mentally, spiritually, emotionally and socially.

Here are some ideas to help inspire your participation in Active Aging Week- including some fun activities done around our communities.

 

Eating Healthy

For better or for worse, what you consume daily has a significant impact on your health. Though it’s far more convenient to buy fast food, it can lead to serious health conditions. On the other hand, putting in a bit more effort to prepare fresh, unprocessed foods can offer substantial health improvements like a boost in energy and even disease prevention.

Apostles

Go fresh for dinner →  Use garden-picked ingredients in your meals.

Inspiration from Embrace Living: Our Loves Park community in Rockford, Illinois is getting together to remove plants from their raised planter gardens, followed by tasting organic gelato.

Try it yourself: Start substituting canned or processed foods for fresh ingredients while preparing meals, by picking from your garden, shopping at farmers markets or even checking the produce aisle at the grocery store.

 

Exercise

With just 10 minutes of consistent exercise per day, you may see noticeable results of physical strength, restful sleep and even improved cognitive performance. Getting some exercise doesn’t have to mean going to the gym. Get creative by choosing hobbies or tasks that you enjoy that include physical activity, like gardening or going for a walk.

Apostles

Go the distance →  Track the steps to your favorite location.

Inspiration from Embrace Living: Residents at Loves Park set a goal to collectively walk to Walt Disney World. They’re tracking their steps during the week.

Try it yourself:  Pick a favorite destination in your area, look up the distance from your home to that location, and aim to walk that distance over a period of time.

 

Fostering Relationships

Physical health is often a primary concern for older adults, but emotional health should also be prioritized. Loneliness and isolation are things older adults may experience due to a variety of reasons like health issues, retirement, or the loss of a spouse. To combat this, it’s necessary to take emotional health seriously by making time for regular social interaction throughout the week.

Apostles

 Share your interests → Join activities that beget social interaction

Inspiration from Embrace Living: Many of our communities hold weekly prayer circles, book clubs and fitness groups.

Try it yourself: Consider joining different groups to increase socialization, while bonding with others over shared values, hobbies or interests.

 

Cognitive Stimulation

Slowing cognitive function is normal with age, but research says regular cognitive stimulation can de-escalate this process in older adults. Fun ways to maintain the mind can include taking a class to learn a skill, reading a new book, attending a museum lectures or even game nights with friends. Taking the time to learn a new skill is a fun way to stimulate the brain.

Learn a lesson →  Take a class to pick up a new skill

Inspiration from Embrace Living: There are many resources that offer a range of free classes to suit your interests. Our Mulford community in Rockford, Illinois is offering Wii Bowling, a night of bingo and balance classes.

Try it yourself: Check your local library or YMCA to see what type of similar classes are offered that may interest you.  

 

Though only a week long, Active Aging Week is intended to prompt small changes that have a big impact in the long run. Make sure to embrace life in all ways this week by remembering to regard aging as a positive, natural process- not a burden.

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