Staying Active and Healthy in Prime Time

posted Aug 31, 2015, 10:12 AM by Walk Strong Calgary   [ updated Aug 31, 2015, 10:12 AM ]
Living a healthy, active lifestyle well into your 80's and 90's is a very real possibility, even in today's sedentary state. We have so much modern technology to make life easier, and it's all great... but some of it helps us a bit too much... and we can become a teeny bit lazy as a result. We have escalators instead of stairs, for example, and I get a kick out of seeing people glide on up next to a staircase... and walk into a health club at the top. The height of irony, maybe? tee hee...

As we age, it becomes more and more important to remain active. Our muscles like to relax as we grow older, and when they do, they lose strength. Our bones require a certain amount of impact to stimulate new bone growth - even gentle walking can result in new bone tissue formation, which is critical for women after menopause. Joints require movement to keep lubricated and mobile - when we're active, the membranes in the joints are stimulated to produce synovial fluid - no movement means we can dry up! It's similar to a car - if there's no oil, it's going to make lots of funny noises as the parts grind against each other and will eventually seize up. 

There are some simple things you can do to prevent loss of mobility and range of motion as you age. My Mom is a great example. She's in her early 70's now, but other than her gray hair, most would guess her to be 10 years younger simply due to how fit and active she is. One of the things she does every single day is crochet while she watches TV, but rather than sitting there for long periods, she gets up during the commercials and goes to putter in the kitchen. Adding brief periods of activity like this can keep your joints mobile. She's not getting up and doing jumping jacks... she's just adding simple, every day activity to break up periods of sitting. Prolonged sitting is now considered the new smoking from a health perspective.

Mom is also very active in other ways, gardening all summer, and power walks 2-3 miles a few times a week, throwing in short bouts of gentle jogging. She even does arm movements on her walks to keep her shoulders mobile. I gave her a firming band and she uses that now and then for strength training. She uses a treadmill on cold winter days and jokes about her pace on it being WAY faster than when my Dad is on it... and always tells him he needs to go faster for his heart. She's right! Go, Mom!

Join me at Woodcreek Community Centre in September!
A fun way to add activity to your week and get community fellowship at the same time is through group fitness classes. Woodcreek Community Centre is hosting a 12-class series for Seniors starting September 11, which I will be leading. This class differs from my normal class format in that we walk to the music only as a gentle warm up. From there, we do a series of exercises that move the joints across all planes of motion, mobilizing the hip and shoulder joints in particular.

The class is geared to improve the ease in which you do your day to day activities such as bend and lift movements when you pick up your grandchild or range of motion requirements needed to reach over your head for something. I'll teach you proper form and alignment for injury prevention focusing on the lower back in particular. We also work on balance for fall prevention and strengthen muscles with hand weights and firming bands. Core stability is also an important consideration and we fit that in, too! All equipment is provided.  

Cost: $5 or $50 for 12 classes

For more information regarding class format, feel free to contact me at 403-354-4905 or e-mail 

TO REGISTER, contact Woodcreek Community Centre at 403-238-1611. First class is September 11 - hope to see you there!