By Riva Preil
Americans young and old should heed the call of this year’s National Senior Health and Fitness Day theme, “Get Moving…Start Improving!” Every year, the last Wednesday of May marks the National Senior Health and Fitness Day (NSHFD), occurs today, May 29th, this year. NSHFD is organized by the Mature Market Resource Center, a national information clearinghouse for the elderly. According to Patricia Henze, program manager of NSHFD, the “goals for Senior Day are to make exercise fun, 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.” There will be a variety of programs offered to seniors throughout the country, including walking tours, health fairs, low impact exercise classes, health screenings, and informational workshops. It is estimated that approximately 100,000 individuals will participate in over 1,000 locations this year.
I am sure that those involved with the National Senior Health and Fitness Day would agree with me- it is NEVER too late to start exercising! There are appropriate activities and exercises for individuals of all ages. It is especially important for the elderly to remain as mobile and active as possible for improved health and quality of life. Light weight resistance exercises and supervised balance exercises will maintain strength and prevent falls. A licensed health care provider such as a physical therapist can help design the appropriate exercise program for each person at whatever stage of life.