We know physical fitness and leading an active lifestyle is important no matter your age. But for seniors it is especially vital for a happier and healthier life in those “golden years.” That’s why it is important to note that later this month on May 27, an estimated 100,000 older adults will participate in organized fitness activities and events across the US as part of the 22nd annual National Senior Health & Fitness Day®. This year’s theme is “If You Keep Moving…You’ll Keep Improving!" Its essential goal is to help keep older Americans healthy and fit. As a group, those 65+ are becoming one of the largest and most influential segments in the country. This is especially due to the nearly 43 million baby boomers^ that will top out around 78 million. Starting in 2011, an estimated 10,000 boomers a day are turning 65 years old! Through the miracles of modern medicine and technology, we are living far beyond retirement age. Therefore the need and desire to stay active, healthy and engaged is becoming more and more important for seniors every single day. For older adults living in the Cumberland Valley, it’s no different.
Fortunately we reside in a very livable, affordable, mostly rural area that is easy to get around, navigate and take daytrips. Additionally, this area also offers plenty of cultural, social and physical activity. Central Pennsylvania, in particular, is rich with historical significance, great entertainment and a plethora of outdoor recreation and activity no matter how old you are.
For older adults, they can enjoy the great outdoors by visiting the historic battlefields of Gettysburg, hiking parts of the Appalachian Trail and enjoying some the greatest freshwater fishing in the state. Hiking, biking and walking trails abound, along with a number of great golf courses throughout the region. This area even boasts eight different disc golf courses including one located at Messiah Lifeways at Messiah Village in Mechanicsburg. Speaking of Messiah Lifeways, its Pathways Institute for Lifelong Learning is another great opportunity to keep your mind, body and soul active. Since, 2004 Pathways offers fall and spring semesters featuring around 40 different classes and learning opportunities for those age 55+. Messiah Lifeways also offers warm water aquatics and fitness programs to older adults as well. 
Other great activities for seniors across the Cumberland Valley also include:
·         Bird Watching
·         Boating
·         Guided Adventures
·         Horseback Riding
·         Parks & Wildlife Areas
·         Swimming
Whatever activities you enjoy, this region has tons of activities from which to choose. But the important thing is that you have to get out there and keep active. Do something you love or try something new. And remember, “If you keep moving…you’ll keep improving.”
Learn more about National Senior Health & Fitness Day and go to messiahlifeways/events to check out the activities planned for May 27 at Messiah Lifeways at Messiah Village.
^Baby Boomers are anyone born between1946-1964
National Senior Health & Fitness Day is organized as a public-private partnership by the Mature Market Resource Center, a national information clearinghouse for the older adult market.
-Matthew J. Gallardo, BASW, CCP
Matt is the Director of Community Engagement and Coaching at Messiah Lifeways, a non-profit organization dedicated to serving older adults age 55 and better throughout Central Pennsylvania. He offers counsel, guidance and support to older adults and their families seeking answers, direction and purpose through a variety of resources available through Messiah Lifeways and beyond. Matt has lived in Central Pa for nearly 20 years and resides in Hampden Township with his wife and two children.