Celebrating Older Americans During The Month Of May
May is Older Americans Month and The Granite YMCA encourages all adults 50 years and older in New Hampshire to get motivated and develop behaviors that are crucial to healthy aging, including healthy eating, increasing physical activity and social interaction.
“The image of an older adult sitting on the porch in a rocking chair is long gone—today’s older adult is more active, engaged and in control of their health,” said Cindy Lafond, Association Director of Healthy Living Initiatives at The Granite YMCA. Community-based organizations like the Y provide the needed guidance to help them reach health goals, particularly when it comes to chronic disease prevention.”
Adults 50 years and older currently make up more than 30 percent of the U.S. population, and will soon represent 45 percent of all Americans. Here in New Hampshire adults 50 and older make up about 16 percent of the population. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that adults 50 and older have a 70 percent chance of developing at least one chronic disease. While these numbers seem daunting, the good news is that making small lifestyle changes that include increasing physical activity, eating healthier and staying active socially can help older adults live better.
During the month from May 1 – May 31, The Granite YMCA will offer seniors 7 free visits during Senior Wellness Month and to participate in free group wellness activities. Participants will have their card signed by Welcome Center staff after each visit. When the card is complete, participants are encouraged to return their card to the Welcome Center to enter to win prizes. The pass entitles the bearer to seven days of free visits to The Granite YMCA five branch locations. Limitations and restrictions apply. Photo ID required at time of visit.
YMCA Allard Center of Goffstown, 116 Goffstown Back Road, Goffstown, NH. In addition, this location will celebrate seniors on Wednesday, May 24 from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm. This is a free event open to the public. Enjoy smoothie samples & recipes, pickle ball demos, blood pressure screenings, healthy nutrition information, chair massages, and more. For more information, please stop by the Welcome Center or call 603.497.4663.
YMCA of Downtown Manchester, 30 Mechanic Street, Manchester, NH. For more information, please stop by the Welcome Center or call 603.623.3558.
YMCA of Greater Londonderry, 206 Rockingham Road, Londonderry, NH. For more information, please stop by the Welcome Center or call 603.437.9622.
YMCA of the Seacoast (Portsmouth), 550 Peverly Hill Road, Portsmouth, NH. For more information, please stop by the Welcome Center or call 603.431.2334.
YMCA of Strafford County (Rochester), 35 Industrial Way, Rochester, NH. For more information, please stop by the Welcome Center or call 603.332.7334.
The Granite YMCA offers a variety of Group Wellness classes, which are free with a facility membership. Located on both land and water, wellness classes build strength, relax the mind, and stretch the body. Wellness classes vary by branch and include activities that concentrate on cardio, strength & flexibility, and improving mind and body. Visit www.graniteymca.org for a full listing of classes.
For more information, please contact Cindy Lafond, Association Director of Healthy Living Initiatives at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additionally, the Y offers the following tips on how to jump-start your healthy-living routine:
1. Have fun with your food. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring! Have fun with your fruits and vegetables by trying them fresh or frozen. Find a new recipe that uses a different source of protein or find a way to incorporate fish or beans into an old favorite. Remember as you age, it’s important to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat or fat-free dairy and lean meats to help your body get the necessary nutrients.
2. Fill up on fiber and potassium, hold the salt. As you age, your body needs more fiber rich foods to help it stay regular. Aim for a variety of colorful foods on your plate (i.e. fruits and veggies) to keep fiber rich foods a part of your diet. Additionally, increasing potassium along with reducing sodium or salt may lower your risk of high blood pressure. Fruits, vegetables and low-fat or fat-free milk and yogurt are good sources of potassium.
3. Get Active. Physical activity is safe for almost everyone, and the health benefits of physical activity far outweigh the risks. Regular physical activity is one of the most important things older adults can do for their health. It can prevent many of the health problems that seem to come with age (such as osteoporosis and arthritis) and reduce the risk for developing, or help manage, depression, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and certain kinds of cancers. For older adults who have chronic conditions that hinder their ability to be active on a regular basis, some physical activity is better than none, and older adults who participant in any amount of physical activity gain some health benefits.
4. Tweak your routine. To get the recommended 30 minutes of daily physical activity, change your routine to 10-minute sessions throughout the day. For example, stand on one foot while brushing your teeth to increase balance, and do squats while washing dishes to increase strength. Make sure you can grab hold of something to maintain balance—safety first! To increase your cardio, take the stairs instead of the elevator or park farther from the entrance to work. When sitting in front of the TV, march during commercials or do some light stretching to break up sitting for long periods.
5. Get social. Socialization is an important part of aging. As we get older, it’s important to be active socially to stay healthy. Take a walk with a friend or a neighbor, join a book club or volunteer at your local pet shelter or local Y. Social interaction provides meaningful engagement, builds relationships, enhances a sense of belonging and provides opportunities for involvement—all resulting in greater bonds and a stronger sense of community. Being connected to the community keeps you healthy!
About The Granite YMCA
As one of the state’s longest standing and most enduring non-profits, The Granite YMCA focuses on youth development, healthy living, social responsibility, and family strengthening. Across the state, its six branches engage 30,000 men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to improve their health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. In 2015, The Granite YMCA provided financial assistance and free services valued at $1.55 million to 19,488 individuals. www.graniteymca.org.