Active Aging

by Linda Manwarren

While reading a recent issue of the Age-Friendly Calgary newsletter I was reminded that Active Aging week is set for October 3-9, 2022. The city has planned events in several locations in the past and may do so again this year. Perhaps your city/town has a similar practice? In any case revisiting the topic of active aging struck me as a timely topic for this article. The International Council on Active Aging began the first Active Aging Week in 2003. It is a campaign that celebrates the positivity of aging and an active lifestyle. The International Council on Active Aging has an informative website and would be worth a visit when you are ready for a pause in your active lifestyle! Health Canada documents state “Being physically active can improve your brain health, help manage weight, reduce the risk of disease, strengthen bones and muscles, and improve your ability to do everyday activities”. The guidelines for adults aged 65 and older are:

  • At least 150 minutes a week (for example, 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week) of moderate intensity activity such as brisk walking. Or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity activity such as hiking, jogging, or running.
  • At least 2 days a week of activities that strengthen muscles.
  • Activities to improve balance such as standing on one foot about 3 days a week.

If chronic conditions affect your ability to meet these recommendations, be as physically active as your abilities and conditions allow.

Examples of muscle-strengthening activities include climbing stairs, digging in the garden, lifting weights, push-ups and curl-ups. Examples of bone-strengthening activities include yoga, walking and running.

If you’re not active now, adding any amount of physical activity can bring some health benefits. Start slowly and gradually increase your physical activity to meet the recommendations. Active aging week could be a great time to start! Sometimes scheduling a refreshing treat increases the celebratory aspect of completing the job for that day. This photo was taken following a hike in Italy – a lemon slushie never tasted better!