Welcome to the new world of fitness for all ages

This week’s Hammertime discusses fitness and its application to everyone

I am so pleased that those of us who are now seniors can continue to enjoy our slightly mellowed lifestyles but also have the neat opportunity of signing up for some fun fitness sessions that will hopefully keep us in ‘vintage shape’ at our own pace.

It is also great to see that our younger generations as well as lots of very vibrant seniors are out and about running or riding their bikes, enjoying all sorts of vigorous or casual sports, as well as faithfully heading off to their Fitness Centres to pump iron, build up the abs, and work out on those fancy machines while keeping trim and staying in tune to the beat of the music.

Of course these days for fitness fanatics of all ages there are all sorts of lively sessions of Zumba, Jazzercise, Yoga, Aqua-Aerobics, and all the rest to meet the demands of the most avid exercise buffs. Then again, for those of us who likely displayed our best moves during the jive and limbo era we are now likely looking for something just a little slower to keep us in good shape and of active mind and body without too many aches and pains. My wife and I love to walk as much as possible every day, and if the weather is too bad we can always stroll down the condo hall-ways, in the malls, or at the recreation centres.

Most of our communities have really supported and encouraged those who want to get close and personal with nature, including kilometres of natural trails for all walkers and other slow-moving and careful rolling traffic, pristine parks, year-round indoor and outdoor recreation facilities and playgrounds with lots of benches and bleachers, and so many others, which are also thankfully wheel-chair assessable. While out in the park last week hoping for a glimpse of all the fluffy new arrivals to our bird and animal kingdom we came across a delightful and noisy session of Moms and Babes Yoga, while others were enjoying picnics, fishing the newly stocked ponds, tossing the Frisbee, flying their kites, and just plain having fun.

Gentle functional fitness

I came across a delightful article the other day concerning fitness classes for seniors, where the Alberta Health Services Link to Health Program has been conducting unique sessions for ambitious age groups from 70 to over 90, several with wheelchairs and walkers, who all really enjoy their very casual sessions of stretching, bending, and marching.

These very popular get-togethers always include a lot of laughter where good friendships are made, and where it doesn’t matter if you can’t do some of the exercises but that you simply do what you can, and always remember that achieving a good quality of life is about what you are able to accomplish and not what you can’t.

The great advantage of these senior fitness sessions and all sorts of other games and activities is that they can also be enjoyed at your leisure in the comfort of your own home with family, friends, and neighbours, as well as at Care Centres, Churches, Drop-In and Community and Recreation Centres, or whatever else can be arranged. These and many other mostly free Alberta Healthy Living group programs are organized by Alberta Health Services and are supervised and conducted by Nurses, Dieticians, volunteers, and other Health Care Professionals throughout the year in communities throughout Alberta.

This year Joyce and I were able to attend several of the Heart Smart and Weight Wise workshops and courses and really got a lot out of them. From the sessions we also received some excellent information material as well as casual exercise and diet programs that we can now follow up on and set our goals together to stay happy and healthy throughout the year. Those interested in getting information on these very worthwhile programs and courses that are available for all age groups from teens to baby-boomers and beyond are welcome to contract: www.myhealthalberta.ca or www.albertahealthservices.ca.

Time to dig out your ‘rowdy rodeo’ wardrobe, grab a mini-Canada 150 flag, and get ready to celebrate the 81st Ponoka Stampede, which rolls into town from June 27 to July 3, and then leaves us all summer to recover from a great week of whip-lash in the wild-wild west. In the meantime check out the sun and just go ahead and have a great week, all of you.