NDSU Extension Service - Mercer County

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Stay Active All Year Round

health, seniors, physical activity, exercise, Go4Life, Aging Well

Submitted by Dena Kemmet, Extension Agent/Family and Consumer Sciences

In this part of the country, staying active is easier during the summer months, when we can be outdoors and engage in enjoyable activities such as golfing, gardening or walking.

However, as fall approaches, you need to consider ways to continue or increase your physical activity and exercise. In Mercer County we have several options available. The Beulah Fit Club and Surge Fitness in Hazen have several classes available for all ages. You can also contact your local senior center to inquire about Silver Sneakers, Bone Builders or other organized groups that currently meet to exercise.

Research has shown that exercise and physical activity can help people stay healthy and independent, and prevent some of the chronic conditions associated with aging. Despite the growing list of benefits of exercise for people of all ages, adults in the U.S. tend to become less active as they age.

Whatever your motivations for staying active may be, figuring out what to do and where to start can be challenging, especially if you are inactive. The North Dakota State University Extension Service has several resources on its Aging Well website (www.ag.ndsu.edu/aging) to help you stay healthy in the second half of your life.

Another useful website to visit is Go4Life (www.nia.nih.gov/Go4Life), a national exercise and physical activity campaign for people 50 and older from the National Institute on Aging. It’s part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The goal of Go4Life is to encourage adults to incorporate exercise and physical activity into their everyday lives. The core of the program is an interactive website, which offers exercises, success stories and free materials to motivate the growing numbers of baby boomers and their parents to get ready, start exercising and keep going to improve their health and achieve a better quality of life.

September is Go4Life Month and this year’s theme is “Move More With Go4Life!” Older adults are encouraged to work out a bit harder, try a new activity and do all four types of exercise: endurance, strength, balance and flexibility.

Be sure to check out the Go4Life Month Toolkit (https://go4life.nia.nih.gov/go4life-month-toolkit) to get inspired to move more. Each week will be devoted to one type of exercise. You’ll see suggestions for building on your current level of activities. For example:

  • Week one: Endurance - Try adding 500 steps per day or five minutes on a treadmill.
  • Week two: Strength - Try lifting weights while watching TV or adding eight more repetitions to your routine.
  • Week three: Balance - Sign up for a tai chi class or learn how good balance can help prevent falls.
  • Week four: Flexibility - Hold your current stretches a minute longer or add a yoga class to your schedule.

In addition to exercise activity ideas, the Go4Life Toolkit includes tip sheets, worksheets, weekly exercise and physical activity plans, and videos. Consider motivating others to join you in Go4Life Month activities.

Source: Jane Strommen, NDSU Extension gerontology specialist

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