. . . to remain active or to continue to pursue things that will enable you to enjoy life to the fullest extent possible.
Growing old isn’t a sentence, it is an ongoing opportunity. An opportunity to try new things and enjoy new experiences. Pursuing and achieving new challenges isn’t limited to the young. Consider the following:
- Katsusuke Yanagisawa became the oldest person to climb the famous but dangerous Mt. Everest at age 71.
- Many people remember John Glenn as an astronaut who was the third American to visit space and the first to orbit Earth. Others might remember him as a U.S. Senator from Ohio. After his political career, Mr. Glenn went back to his astronaut roots and became the oldest person, at age 77, to enter Earth’s orbit, while also becoming the only person to fly in both the Mercury and Space Shuttle programs.
- Wei-foung Yuan, from Canada, has maintained the same routine for the past 25 years, which has consisted of getting up every day at 7a.m., and then from 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. teaching 100-200 people how to exercise. Impressive, especially considering that Mr. Yuan is 98 years old!
- Ethel Davey, a British citizen, started volunteering at a local thrift store every Friday and Saturday afternoon when she was 78 years old . . . 21 years ago. Ms. Davey is now 99 years old and hasn’t missed a shift.
- At age 86, Katherine Pelton from Southwest Africa established a new record for her age group for the 200-meter butterfly swim, eclipsing the previous record by over 20 seconds. Ms. Pelton competed in 4 different masters age groups beginning with ages 70-74, and ultimately through ages 85-89. During this time, she set 34 masters world records.
- Some proof that you are never too old to start learning: In 2007 Nola Ochs became the oldest person to graduate from college, at the age of 95, when she earned a Bachelor of General Studies degree from Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas. Her quest for learning didn’t end here, however, as she went on to become the oldest person to receive a master’s degree in 2010 when she was 98 years old!
But perhaps there is no better example of a senior who continued to push themselves than Fauja Singh, the world’s oldest recorded marathon runner. Mr. Singh, who carried the Olympic torch at the 2004 Athens Summer Olympics and the 2012 London Summer Olympics, ran and completed a marathon at age 104!
Physical activity is one of the best things anyone can do to improve or maintain their health. This is especially true and important for seniors. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some physical activity is better than none at all, and seniors require a minimum of:
- 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise (like walking), or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise (like jogging).
- 2 days per week of different exercises or activities that strengthen muscles
- Activities to improve balance (to mitigate risks of falling, which accounts for the most injury-related deaths for seniors every year)
Seniors living in Darien are fortunate to have great organizations, facilities, and programs to help manage physical activity. Some examples include:
Darien YMCA: The “Y” offers a variety of programs designed for active older adults, including swimming, restorative yoga, light toning and strengthening exercises, and Tai Chi. Visit their website at https://darien-ymca.org/ or call at (203) 655-8228 for more information on available programs and schedules.
Senior Programs at Mather Center: Interested in aerobics, or perhaps ballet? The Senior Programs at Mather Center offers these programs in addition to a variety of other light and moderate-intensity programs like chair fitness, sittercise, Tai Chi, and even chair dance. Call the center at (203) 656-7490 for more information or to sign up for a program.
At Home In Darien continues to be available for rides to the YMCA, Mather Center, or any other destination within Darien, Stamford, Norwalk, and New Canaan. Please call us with any questions at (203) 655-2227, or visit us at https://www.athomeindarien.org.