Friday, October 10, 2008

Making Seniors Healthy Through Fitness Programs

“Ionia County Commission on Aging is making efforts to increase the health and welfare of senior citizens in the county by putting an emphasis on prevention and being physically fit. Lynette Seiler, Ionia Commission on Aging Administrator, said Thursday that the commission on aging board discussed a plan to increase awareness of prevention and wellness programs for seniors throughout the county. ‘Sixty is the new 40,’ she said, adding that it is important for people to stay active to maintain their health. In Ionia County, there are several programs at the commission on aging aimed at keeping seniors active. These programs include an enhanced fitness class and a balance class called Matter of Balance. The Area Agency on Aging of West Michigan provides funding for some of these exercise programs. ‘They are pretty important if you are 50 or over,’ Seiler said of maintaining a level of activity through exercise. She said improving health has many spin-offs on other health and physical fitness issues. Additional programs the commission on aging is looking to partner with to promote activity include the Ionia Health Department and Michigan State University Extension. Additionally, there is talk of working with area parks and recreation departments to promote healthy activities, and the commission on aging is open to working with a lot more groups, as well, to promote health and prevention. ‘If someone has a senior activity, they can let us know,’ Seiler said. She said the plan is to have a punch card where seniors participating in different programs can have a card punched at different events. These punched cards would then be eligible for prize drawings. Although there is not an official title for the program yet, officials hope to have the plan up and running soon. ’We hope to [implement it] before the holidays,’ Seiler said.”

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