Senior citizens at the Coon Rapids Senior Center celebrated National Senior Health and Fitness Day May 30 with special activities and guests, including Kelly Lindell, host of the cable TV show “Active Aging.”
The event centered around five aspects of fitness: mental, spiritual, physical, nutritional and social.
Physical fitness book-ended the event, as Lindell led beginning exercises and Greg Springman of Live 2 B Healthy Senior Fitness led the exercises at the end.
“I like to think of physical fitness as the book-ends which hold up your health. If you’re physically unfit it’s hard to do other things,” Lindell said.
Lindell has worked for more than 20 years in the fitness industry with NordicTrack, Medtronic and Lifetime Fitness. Her TV show “Active Aging” is geared towards helping seniors stay healthy and strong. The show started airing a year and a half ago.
Lindell is also owner and president of Comfort Keepers In-Home Care Northwestern Twin Cities office.
According to Lindell, muscle mass can quickly decrease in later years, a rate of six pounds of muscle per decade, but fitness can prevent that loss and increase muscle mass.
A loss in muscle mass can lead to more arthritis pain, a lower metabolism and other health problems, Lindell said.
And “aging” can really just be a loss of use as adults become more sedentary, she said.
“Fitness changes … as you age it becomes more connected with your quality of life,” Lindell said.
She also addressed the role affluence has played in being physically fit, as technological devices replace many of the activities or chores that required physical activity.
“As you become more affluent in life you often do less and less, especially in our culture,” Lindell said.
For event attendee Gladys Bandimere, the lessons on fitness were mainly reminders. At age 94, Bandimere still mows her own lawn with a push mower, cleans the gutters, paints and gardens.
When Lindell asked who regularly exercises with “Active Aging,” Bandimere was one of the few who raised their hands.
After getting a brief workout seniors tested their memory and knowledge with a game of trivia, led by Pinnacle Services Sales Coordinator Mark Hinchcliffe. Teams of four competed to win prizes by answering trivia questions. Team names included The Pink Divas, The Senior Vikings and The First Timers.
Mercy & Unity Hospitals Faith Community Nurse Connie Kassing spoke about the important role spiritual health plays in aging and encouraged all seniors to find a faith they can follow.
Kassing said spirituality helps seniors face the future with hope and reduces stress.
“Spirituality helps people rise above the current situation … it helps them to say realistically, ‘look at what’s happening,’ but be able to still search for that positive perspective,” she said. “It’s the moment of holiness in the midst of all the confusion.”
Epiphany Senior Housing Dietary Manager Matt Pilla gave an overview of healthy nutrition and the many necessary nutrients to include in their meals. He stressed the importance of getting enough Vitamin B-12 and the importance of having a colorful plate half-full of fruits and vegetables.
Program coordinator of the Anoka County Family Caregiver Connection Jill Agyekum shared the many benefits of being socially active, including a healthier immune system, reduced stress, better brain health and memory, reduced depression and less time thinking about pain.
“As human beings we are hard-wired to be socially active,” Agyekum said. “If we isolate ourselves and are in our homes alone we kind of forget what day it is, we have nobody to vent to or talk to and we don’t learn new things.”
Coon Rapids Senior Services Program Specialist Kris Niebler spoke about the many opportunities the Coon Rapids Senior Center has for seniors to be socially active.
The event was sponsored and put on by Comfort Keepers In-Home Care, Epiphany Senior Housing and Pinnacle Services.
“We wanted to get them out, get them active and have fun,” Hinchcliffe said.
The seniors celebrating in Coon Rapids were joining the other 100,000 seniors celebrating across the country. This is the first time the Coon Rapids Senior Center has hosted this event and it hopes to celebrate again next year.
Bethany Kemming is at [email protected]