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Keeping fit as we age: A how-to

Participating in group programs improves fitness but also combats loneliness and isolation

There are several good reasons for staying in shape as we get older. Health and physical benefits usually top that list, but as it turns out, participating in group programs not only helps with fitness, it can help reduce isolation and loneliness.

According to the Government of Canada website, physical activity is the key to being healthy. Canadians of all ages need to move more and sit less every day to help them achieve their optimal health. Physical activity gives us energy, decreases stress, makes us stronger and prolongs our independence as we age. It also helps prevent several chronic diseases, including cancer, obesity, hypertension, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

For adults between the ages of 18 and 64, physical activity can reduce the risk of over 25 chronic conditions. These include stroke, colon cancer, osteoporosis, hypertension, breast cancer, type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease.

Those who get regular physical activity and have higher fitness levels are able to accomplish their daily tasks with greater ease and less fatigue. In fact, research shows that as much as half of the functional decline that occurs between the ages of 30 and 70 is due not to aging but to an inactive way of life.

For those who are 65 or older, weight-bearing physical activity reduces the rate of bone loss that goes with osteoporosis. Getting regular physical activity helps you maintain your balance, strength, flexibility and coordination.

Ways to stay active

REALTOR® Gwen Price is one of the cohosts of Ageing in Action, a TV show and podcast on ageing well in Northern Ontario. She has a certificate in gerontology, a SRES® (Seniors Real Estate Specialist®) designation and has long advocated on behalf of seniors.

Recently, Ageing in Action did an episode on keeping fit as we age. The hosts interviewed interviewed Dr. Adam Ball, Chiropractor & Coach and his wife, Kristin Green, Physiotherapist & Coach, who speak to the importance of maintaining muscle mass and strength as we age. The pair own the Sudbury School of Fitness, which offers a variety of programs for all ages.

In 2021 they interviewed Dawn Condon, a yoga and wellness coach from Connected Living Yoga & Wellness Studio, offering programs such as Strong & Balanced Seniors Fall Prevention, Yoga & Core for Osteoporosis and Stiff Guy. Programs are offered in person and online.

Another great local resource is the Parkside Older Adult Centre, located at the YMCA. They offer many fitness programs, such as Chair Yoga, Parkside Pace Setters and Zumba Gold as well as Links2WellBeing, a social prescribing program.

Gardening is also a great intergenerational activity as we age. “In the past few years, I have started gardening again and during COVID, we built a new garden shed and new flower beds,” says Price. In 2021, the hosts interviewed Garth Wunsch and his daughter, Jennifer Arnott, about horticulture and gardening.

Thankfully, there is no shortage of excellent resources available. Active Aging Canada has some great suggestions for older adults who want to stay active, as does the Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging at Western University. Public Health – Sudbury and Districts has put together some fantastic exercise prescriptions for adults.

For more information, visit Gwen Price Homes or call 705-561-2335.

As published in

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