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How seniors stay in shape in the winter

This week's Hammertime looks for ways seniors can stay in shape in the winter.

As I watch the kids jumping for joy (??) on their way back and forth to school, as a senior, I wonder if I can ever gain enough energy and enthusiasm to keep busy and staying in some sort of shape during our long winter ahead. Like so many of you who have entered into the golden gates of retirement, we have likely had just a little fear of not having enough to do, not being able to keep up to our grandchildren, or turning into a couch potato.

Yours truly has always been a bit of a ‘worry wart’, but I was quite wrong about fussing over getting bored and ‘seizing up’ in the cold months ahead. After moving into a condo a few years ago, we have had the great pleasure of meeting so many vibrant seniors who are busy having fun doing their own thing on their own time, as well as encouraging others to join in. Here are just a few examples which I am sure are happening each and every day in all of our communities.

*At the age of 73, I am one of the youngest members of our Golden Age Bowling League, where we have weekly birthday parties and prizes, and everyone tosses the ball at their own speed and style without worrying about the score.

*Several people in our complex go out every morning for their walk and fresh air, but they faithfully take along a garbage bag and their nifty pick-me-up sniper to clean up the neighbourhood garbage. If the weather is bad or there are some who are unable to venture to far, they put on their ear phones and stroll through the halls in tune to their favourite music. Casual or a little more serious exercise sessions can also be enjoyed at home or at fully equipped fitness centres around our community, where the hosts of your chosen activity will be happy to organize a program to fit everyone’s age and needs, and all are a great place to meet friends while having a few brisk or layed back laps on the treadmill or bike while watching your favourite soap or sports event. I might even join a water aerobics session at the local pool, as long as I can keep my feet on the bottom, and do not have to show off my ‘lily white’ aging body to much.

*During a delightful visit to the Rimoka Lodge a while ago, it was a real treat to watch many of the guests going through their morning workout with always congenial Christie, while others were playing games and some were getting a workout with some exciting action on the big screen TV. Down at the Ponoka Drop-In Centre at 5015-46 (phone 403-783-5012) Avenue, the busy schedule of activities for the 55-plus set include billiards, bridge, whist, yoga, excerises, shuffleboard, sewing, crib, pickle ball, floor curling, weaving, and ‘500’ as well as the popular music jam sessions on Saturdays at 1 p.m.

*For those of us who have had the joy of being a volunteer, we know that there is absolutely no age limit when it comes to helping others or getting involved for a few precious hours a week or month. Many of us have sat in on performances at our hospitals or care centres of happy-go-lucky bands and groups of all ages playing or dancing to all sorts of music from country rock to old time, where everyone watching can’t help but get their hands a clapping and their toes a tapping. Volunteering is a gift right from the heart that is so appreciated and will never be forgotten, so if you are interested please phone Leanne at the Ponoka Hospital and Care Centre (403-783-7782) or Janice Mackie at the Centennial Centre (403-783-7600).

*There are so many indoor hobbies that take up the ‘down time’ over the winter months where individuals or groups are invited to share their skills to make amazing items that can become wonderful gifts for all occasions. Please check the Ponoka News or posters for local registration dates for everything from ballroom dancing to zumba, from cooking to computers, from pottery to photography, and on and on.

*Many of us hardy Albertans sneak away from the deep freeze as ‘snowbirds’ into the warmer climates, but if we stay at home there are many bus tours that offer great excursions throughout the province and beyond, while the comfortable Ponoka Lion’s Club Bus hosts many great trips throughout the year, and the Ponoka Legion has a Legion 55 Club, which apparently loves to let loose and have some fun. Fall is also the perfect time to get involved in a church choir or express your acting or musical skills by joining the Klaglahachie Fine Arts Group, the Ponoka Art or Pottery Clubs, senior curling or bowling leagues, and many others.

*For the outdoorsy types, there are many folks who have organized ‘coffee groups’ to share the morning news, taking advantage of the special rates for seniors, and maybe even shareing the driving or offering a ride for those who would like to join in, then maybe later stopping to visit a friend who is confined to home, hospital or special care. Cross country skiing or snow-shoeing around the golf course is also invigorating; there will be several outdoor rinks or the complex for public skating sessions, and watch out for all sorts of sports games and events to cheer on at the arena or local schools. As we plan our fall and winter activities this time around, let’s make sure to share the fun with family and friends, and then just go ahead and have a great week, all of you.