MOUNTAIN LAKES — The Lakeland Hills Family YMCA proves every day that there is no age limit on eating healthy, getting active, and being social. May is Older Americans Month and the Y is emphasizing the importance of being active and involved, no matter where or when you are in life. All individuals are encouraged to develop behaviors that are crucial to healthy aging, including healthy eating, increasing physical activity, and social interaction – especially adults over age 50.
The Lakeland Hills Family YMCA is a community organization focused on healthy living, social responsibility, and youth development. In fact, at the Y “older adults” are not called “seniors”, but rather are referred to as “active agers”. Adults 50 years and older currently make up more than 30 percent of the U.S. population, and will soon represent 45 percent of all Americans. Here in the Morris County area, adults 50 and older make up 41 percent of the population. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest that adults 50 and older have a 70 percent chance of developing at least one chronic disease. While these numbers seem daunting, the good news is that making small lifestyle changes that include increasing physical activity, eating healthier, and staying active socially can help older adults live better.
“Due to COVID-19’s potential effect on our older members, we know that many have been staying home for their health. As the community reopens, we know that health is top of mind as people return to their regular routines,” said Alex Martinez, President, and CEO of the Lakeland Hills Family YMCA. “If you need help, support or just a place to get started, community-based organizations such as the Y provide the needed guidance to help older adults age well.”
The Lakeland Hills Family YMCA offers many ways for older adults to live healthier lives, including six evidence-based health initiatives as part of its Chronic Disease Prevention Program. One of them is Enhance® Fitness, a 16-week evidence-based physical activity program proven to increase the physical, mental, and social functioning of older adults – particularly those with arthritis.
According to the CDC, 52 million Americans have arthritis, including about half of all adults over age 65. Almost 23 million Americans report that arthritis limits their physical activity. Research has shown that low-intensity physical activity performed on a regular basis can reduce pain, improve functioning, elevate mood, and delay the onset of disability.
Participants in Enhance® Fitness attend three, one-hour classes per week taught by a certified Y instructor. Classes feature proven aerobic, strength training, balance, and flexibility exercises that are safe, effective, and modifiable for a variety of fitness levels. After four months, fitness assessments are conducted to track participants’ progress. In addition to physical benefits, the program provides a fun, social atmosphere that fosters relationships between program participants.
This program has been popular beyond anyone’s expectations. Those who have taken these classes were some of the first individuals back to the Y when doors re-opened last fall.
In addition to the arthritis program, the Lakeland Hills Family YMCA offers five additional Chronic Disease Prevention Programs. They are the Cardiac Care Maintenance Program for individuals who have recovered from a cardiac incident; Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring Program for individuals who
have Hypertension; the MS One-Step Program for individuals who have Multiple Sclerosis; the LIVESTRONG at the YMCA Program for individuals with cancer or who are cancer survivors; and the Diabetes Prevention Program for individuals diagnosed with Prediabetes.
Most of the Chronic Disease Prevention Programs are offered at no or low cost, and most do not require a Y membership. For more information on these programs please visit the Y’s website at www.lakelandhillsymca.com or call Anthony Shovlowsky at (973) 507-7040.
You’re Invited: The Y is inviting everyone from the community to participate in their free outdoor “Senior” Health and Wellness event on Wednesday, May 26 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sponsored by Sunrise Senior Living at Mountain Lakes and Unicity Senior Advisors, the Y is putting the FUN in fitness. Blood pressure checks, fitness classes, memory games, and more! Additionally, an ice cream truck will be there with free ice cream, a 90th birthday celebration for Y members turning 90 years old, and enter to win a free Older Adult membership, whether you are a current member or guest!
While the CDC recommends that older adults get a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate exercise or strength training per day, less than one out of three American’s 65 and older meet these guidelines. Swimming and aquatic programs may reduce the risk of muscle loss as one age and reduce the risk of osteoporosis as well as improve cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, and mental well-being. The Lakeland Hills Family YMCA offers aquatic fitness classes in addition to their slate of lessons and programs.
For nearly 60 years, Older Americans Month has been observed to recognize older Americans and their contributions to our communities. Led by the Administration for Community Living’s Administration on Aging, every May offers the opportunity to hear from, support, and celebrate our nation’s elders. For more information on how your family can live a healthy, active life, visit www.lakelandhillsymca.com or call Rosemary Linder Day at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, no other organization can impact as many, as powerfully, as the Y does every day.