Summer! A Great Time to Get Out and Get Active

Ask most seniors what their secret to living a happier healthier life is and their answers are pretty simple. Eat well, get adequate sleep, schedule regular check-ups, and exercise your mind, body and soul. Sounds easy enough-right? Each suggestion has its challenges, but for certain people staying physically fit may be the most challenging. But thankfully as we enjoy spring and summer, we have fewer excuses and more opportunity to get out and get active.

Exercise and cardiovascular fitness are important at any stage in life, but particularly for older adults. According to the American Heart Association, “the older people become, the more they need regular exercise. Exercise helps prevent bone loss and subsequently fractures, and reduces the risk of diseases associated with aging like heart disease and diabetes and helps stave off depression. It also increases muscle strength and may improve balance and coordination, which can reduce the likelihood of falling. It also increases the ability for basic living, making it easier to do things like carry groceries, get up from a chair and take care of household chores. Being physically active is key in maintaining quality of life and independence.”

Committed to helping people stay physically active, Messiah Lifeways offers many great options for residents and community members alike to exercise and stay fit. The Messiah Lifeways Wellness program offers warm water aquatic classes, plus features two fitness centers on campus, with staff available to provide instruction and encouragement. Additionally, Messiah Village has resident walking clubs, staff and resident-run exercise classes, and activities that have fitness components built-in. We also have a beautiful 18-hole disc golf course and a nature trail located near the cottages on Willow Way. And lastly, we are now a host site for the Silver Sneakers® program.

The National Institute on Aging recommends you exercise at least 30 minutes every day if possible. And those 30 minutes can be broken up throughout the day. Now if group exercise classes or swimming are “not your cup of tea”- that’s ok. You don’t have to buy workout gear, join a gym or squeeze into that ole bathing suit. Instead, make physical activity a routine part of your everyday life. Find other activities you may enjoy doing. Take walks, garden, take the grandkids to the park, volunteer or try something new like yoga or dance lessons. Look for new ways to build physical activity into your daily routine and, of course,  you should consult with your physician. So challenge yourself this summer to become more active and fit. Then you too can know one of the secrets to a happier healthier life.

For a list of helpful websites containing exercise, fitness and wellness tips along with a listing of local parks and trails, go to MessiahLifeways.org/WellnessTips. Be sure to check out the Messiah Lifeways Wellness page at Messiahlifeways.org/Wellness to learn about the excellent exercise programs available to residents and the community.

(article adapted from Messiah Lifeways Magazine Summer 2013 Issue)

Matthew J. Gallardo

Matthew J. Gallardo

Matt is the Director of Community Engagement and Coaching at Messiah Lifeways. He brings nearly 20 years of experience in counseling, advocating, and guiding older adults and caregivers through many of life’s tough decisions. His diverse background of working in hospital and rehabilitation settings, community services, and senior housing gives him the breadth and depth of knowledge to provide unique solutions, opportunities, and help individuals proactively plan for the future. He serves as the Lifeways Coach and as a writer, blogger, podcaster, and speaker for Messiah Lifeways, located in Mechanicsburg, PA.

Enhanced Living (Personal Care) at Messiah Village

Inpatient and Outpatient Rehab at Messiah Village