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Published on May 25, 2022

Find Your Fitness Groove on National Senior Health & Fitness Day

older man stretching in park

By Cody Miller, EvergreenHealth Staff Writer

Did you know there is a whole day in May dedicated to what's considered the largest health and wellness movement for seniors in the entire country?

National Senior Health & Fitness Day is an annual celebration that happens on the last Wednesday in May. According to National Today, it is an entire day committed to preventing illness in seniors through exercise and healthy eating habits. There's no better time to explore what lifestyle changes you can make starting today, to help you live life to the fullest. 

While staying active as a senior can help with weight loss or prevent weight gain, there are more important reasons to stay active as you age.

Steven Montague, MD, physician at EvergreenHealth Signature Care, shares how staying active as a senior decreases your risk for conditions like cardiovascular disease and stroke as well as lung, breast and colon cancer. Also, regular exercise can improve your bone health and lower the risk of fractures.

No matter what age you are, a healthy diet improves immunity to disease and can boost your mental health, which has implications for not only your overall happiness but your physical well-being too.

To start exercising and stay motivated, Dr. Montague suggests you:

  • Find an exercise you like doing, which could be standard running, walking or something else like hiking, swimming or even dancing.
  • Try to exercise in the morning before work or before other people or responsibilities start dipping into your day. As the day goes by, it's easier to lose control over your schedule.
  • Personalize your goals so that they have tangible outcomes like being able to pick up your grandkids, work in your garden for an extended time or walk around Disneyland all day.
  • Reward yourself by having a treat or buying yourself a gift after you meet a certain goal.

Additionally, integrating socialization into your exercise routine can help with motivation as well as reward. For instance, walking in a group can motivate you to get out the door while spending quality time with friends and family can improve your mood. Socialization has also been shown to reduce your risk of dementia, especially Alzheimer's-type dementia, as well as cognitive decline.

So, what can you do to get started? The most important thing, according to Dr. Montague, is that you simply get moving. "Getting five minutes of a walk or five minutes on the treadmill or the stationary bike, that's better than zero minutes," says Dr. Montague, "you just go out and get started. Pretty soon five minutes turns into seven and seven turns into ten. Then you start to feel stronger. You get not a vicious cycle, but a virtuous cycle going where rewards build confidence, builds more success, builds more rewards and you spiral upward instead of downward."

EvergreenHealth also offers free, in-person and virtual classes for seniors that help you stay informed about your health, your family's safety and teach you about self-care:

What You Need to Know About Stroke

June 1, 2022 | Noon – 1 p.m.

This class covers the steps you can take to prevent strokes, signs and symptoms of a stroke and crucial first responses.

Register for "What You Need to Know About Stroke"

Summer Travel Keep Moving

June 29, 2022 | 11:15 a.m. – Noon

The dangers of long flights are making some think twice about air travel. Simple seated exercises will be discussed and demonstrated, along with other techniques to keep the blood moving and muscles relaxed while in route.

Register for "Summer Travel Keep Moving"

First Aid Basics

July 13, 2022 | Noon – 1 p.m.

Learn basic first aid for cuts and scrapes, bites and bruises and appropriate first response for emergencies.

Register for "First Aid Basics"

Infant Safety and Injury Prevention Just for Grandparents

August 17, 2022 | 10 – 11 a.m.

Grandparents and caregivers can learn everything new or expectant caregivers need to know about keeping their baby safe at home and at play. Topics include basic child development, safe sleep recommendations, car seat basics, medication safety, baby-proofing and home safety.

Register for "Infant Safety and Injury Prevention Just for Grandparents"

Self-Care and Gratitude

August 31, 2022 | 10 – 11 a.m.

The challenges of the pandemic have been many. Now, as restrictions ease, we can use this opportunity to re-shape our habits and routines to better support our well-being.

Register for "Self-Care and Gratitude"

Advance Care Planning

While exercise is an important tool to prevent illness, it's important to be prepared should your health become compromised.

Although we try our best to avoid any sudden illness or accident, it is important to start thinking about advance care planning.

Advance care planning is when you discuss your wishes for health management should you face a medical crisis, so that your loved ones and your health care provider understand your wishes and feel confident in making the decisions that are right for you.

It can be a difficult subject, which is why EvergreenHealth offers a free virtual Advance Care Planning Workshop on June 1 from 4– 5:30 p.m. and June 18 from 10:30 a.m. – noon.

This workshop can help you get started reflecting on your values, choosing a healthcare agent and exploring your treatment goals.

Register for the Advance Care Planning Workshop

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Senior Health Classes

Learn more about EvergreenHealth's in-person and virtual classes.