Help the Older Generation Get Moving!

December 15th, 2013 | By Marjie No Comments

Fam-Senior-Moves-Dec

By Sydney Marshall

As the holiday season is just around the corner, many of us will be spending quality time with friends and family.  This usually means spending hours sitting in the living room catching up on lost time while enjoying some great food prepared by the best cooks in the family.  Staying active is not often a major concern for people around this time of year, but it is a popular time to make New Year’s resolutions.  We encounter folks from the older generation almost daily:  in our jobs, at church, at family gatherings, or as close family friends we may have.

Kids have the ability to help this generation stay active by doing what they do best … play!  Including the seniors in some fun but safe activities throughout the year is a great way you can improve their health and get them feeling young again.

All of you have heard that regular physical activity is good for you.  However, it is especially important for the health of seniors.  Staying active provides numerous benefits for the older generation and allows them to keep doing the things they love as they get older.  Helping make physical activity something social and fun is key to helping the older generation stay active and healthy.  One of the biggest benefits of physical activity for seniors is its ability to improve balance.  The risk of falling increases more and more with age, but helping them stay away from a sedentary lifestyle will help avoid this risk.

It does not take much research to find out about the many activities that kids and seniors can do together.  A majority of them can be done in the convenience of your own yard!  Playing catch in the yard with a tennis ball is an activity that creates camaraderie, but also involves some safe physical activity for both the child and the senior.  Putting up Christmas lights in the front yard gets everyone outside and moving around.  It allows every individual to take part in the activity and express his or her creative ideas.  Going bowling at the local alley is another great way to get out of the house and get moving.  Carrying bowling balls is similar to lifting weights for a short amount of time, which helps seniors (and everyone else) maintain muscle and improve stability.  Simply playing a game of cards or chess allows kids and seniors to exercise their minds, which is just as important as exercise for the body.  The popular Wii games provide a warm place indoors to get some exercise.  Invite an older friend like your neighbor or grandparents next time you want to play!

These are just a few ideas of how to help out the older generation in your area become healthier and more physically fit.  Committing to some regular physical activity every month with a senior would make a great New Year’s resolution and allow you to give back to the community, while improving the health of those who have made a difference in your life.

(And for more ideas about healthy New Year’s resolutions, check out the Life Zone feature article that starts on Page 44!)

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