5 ways seniors can stay active
BY ANDY FRYE For Sun-Times Media
1) Walking. Whether you enjoy the quiet breeze of a suburban footpath or the lush skyline on Chicago's city lakeshore, getting out on foot is one of the best ways to enjoy a bright summer day. Early mornings and right before dusk are great times to enjoy cooler temperatures for a half-hour walk with your partner, family or friends. For those more adventurous walkers, Illinois state parks provide great scenic walks. Spots such as Illinois Beach State Park as well as Chain O'Lakes State Park in the Fox Lake area have several beautiful wooded trails for walking and biking, too.
2) Tai Chi. Even if you've never dabbled in eastern wellness or even thought before about martial arts, tai chi is an excellent low-impact way to move your body. The Taoist Tai Chi Society in Arlington Heights (and Chicago, too) runs classes for beginners as well as special workshops that demonstrate the ancient exercise art form. Tai chi is believed to improve balance and increase circulation, while also boosting concentration, composure, self-confidence and self-control.
3) Yoga. Yoga isn't for everyone, but the good news is different types suit different people. While dedicated yogis love to sweat their way through Bikram, or hot, yoga, most yoga studios throughout northern Illinois have easy, low intensity classes for normal people who just want to stretch and stay active. Like tai chi, yoga is known also to increase circulation and muscle strength, and you may even sleep better afterward.
4) Swimming. Swimming is a daily passion for adults of all ages in Germany and Scandinavia, but an underutilized form of recreation in the USA. Evanston's McGaw YMCA runs a low impact group for swimmers who prefer a lower intensity workout but still want to improve or maintain their fitness level. Similar swim programs are available at the Highland Park Aquatics Club and through the Wilmette Park District. Plus, almost every local swim club has both open pool and adult only swim sessions suited for active adults that want to go for a quick splash.
5) Playing with the grandkids. Sure, little kids like to run around the yard but that doesn't mean you have to run around after them. Your best bet may simply be being around your grandkids outdoors. Modest pleasures such as a trip to the playground or a round of mini golf are excellent ways to enjoy the company of family amidst the warmer weather and summer sunshine.