By Leonard T. Kelley
Older Persons Action Group 

The key to healthy longevity is staying active


Oler Persons Action Group encourages seniors to engage in activities that maintain a healthy lifestyle. Basic factors contributing to healthy living are: good nutrition combined with physical, social and mental activity.

Nutrition. People eating meals at a senior center will receive balanced and nutritious meals. However, those living on their own are encouraged to remember to include vegetables, fruits and fish in at least one meal a day. Avoiding fatty foods and excessive use of alcohol are also important factors in maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle.

Physical activity. Regular physical activity is an important part of an active life. Many seniors enjoy low-impact physical activities such as yoga, group workouts or, weather permitting, a good walk or hike. Our state’s exceptional recreation areas such as Jim Creek in Palmer, Eklutna Lake or the Goose Bay Refuge provide wonderful opportunities for physical activities.

Each recreational area offers an array of physical activities, some of which are scheduled on specific days. Jim Creek in Palmer, for instance, provides wonderful opportunities for hiking, four-wheeling and fishing. Eklutna Lake (open Sundays through Wednesday) also offers hiking, four-wheeling and fishing, as does the Goose Bay Refuge, which is open all the time. Four wheeling is a relatively uncomplicated and safe activity – and a lot of fun.

Social activity. A balanced social life is an important element of a healthy and active life. Senior centers are a wonderful source of social activities, conversation and friendship. Many seniors are also actively engaged in family, community, church and educational activities providing interesting social engagement opportunities.

Mental activity. Just as nutrition and physical and social activity contribute to a healthy lifestyle, so does mental activity. Crossword puzzles provide a great opportunity for mental exercise and can be found in your daily newspaper. Many universities provide reduced tuition fees for seniors, and offer a broad array of classes, both academic and special interest.

Good nutrition, combined with physical, social and mental activities contribute to an active engaged life — and Alaska is rich with opportunities for our active, engaged seniors.

Leonard Kelley is the Older Persons Action Group board president.


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