The month of May is recognized as Older Americans Month, and celebrations are underway.
Senior living facilities around the U.S. will be holding special events all month long to recognize and celebrate seniors within their communities.
Today, there are millions of seniors around the country being taken care of by approximately 65.7 million informal or family caregivers. While family members and nursing homes alike can address some issues for the senior population, fitness is often a matter that is left behind compared to other concerns about the health of the elderly.
Older Americans Month, however, aims to change perceptions about exercise for seniors.
In fact, fitness does not have to mean the strenuous activities we normally think of when exercise comes to mind. Exercise can be as simple as doing something physical each day, such as performing chores or taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
According to the Sheboygan Press, Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis is an alternative for those who are not able to attend regular fitness classes or a gym. This form of exercise involves “regular physical activity that still burns calories and keeps us healthy without being ‘formal’ exercise.” This can be as simple as parking further away from your destination in a parking lot.
While most younger adults wouldn’t consider that much of an effort, it’s something that some senior citizens with health problems could find difficult. Those who do get enough exercise in the golden years often serve as role models to others, both young and old.
For example, for the seniors who are able to attend classes and have been consistent in their health and exercise efforts, the Fairbanks North Star Borough in Alaska took the time to recognize them at an annual luncheon. The luncheon, which has taken place for over 30 years, featured some of the public officials in the area including mayors from the Fairbanks North Star Borough, city of Fairbanks, and city of North Pole.
According to the Fairbanks Daily New-Miner, this year, the Lifetime Fitness Award went to James N. Hunter II. The resident of more than 35 years is “dedicated to exercising and he advocates for others to participate and exercise at North Pole Santa’s Senior Center.”
In addition to eating well, Hunter continues to ride his bicycle, garden, compete in the Alaska Senior International Games, and travels the world.
“Hunter embraces each day with positive thoughts and kind words,” according to the proclamation. “He believes in healthy and happy living to ensure a long life.”