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National Senior Health and Fitness Day Goes Virtual

Morning Star Quality Home Health

National Senior Health and Fitness Day is an annual event sponsored by the Mature Market Resource Center, which is a national clearinghouse for older persons.  It is considered the largest annual health and wellness event for seniors and is always held on the last Wednesday in May. Due to CDC recommendations on social distancing,  this year’s event is going virtual in May and will be online May 27 and could be the largest virtual event for Senior Health and Fitness. If things go well and restrictions ease, an in-person event will be held in the fall. 

Senior fitness is a challenging and worthy goal in the best of times, and the COVID-19 pandemic has upped the ante.  Social distancing and sheltering in place have become the norm.  As the world reopens and restrictions lessen, there may still be trepidation and fear on the part of many older adults to venture out, which will impact the mental, emotional, and physical health of older adults.  The type of information offered in this usually in-person event has never been more important. 

COVID-19 has impacted all levels of society, so it is not surprising that the National Senior Health and Fitness Day has been restructured as well.  Two events are being planned this year.  The National Senior Health and Fitness Day will be offered for the first time as a virtual event on May 27th, 2020, and again as an in-person live event later in the year when hopefully the CDC guidance for large gatherings has been lifted. Representatives from the Mature Market Resource Center report they are aiming for late October.


What kinds of virtual resources and events are planned for this year?

Organization for the online event is loosely structured as moving the nation’s largest health and wellness event to an online format is uncharted territory.  The event is sponsored by national, state, and local sponsors, and some local sponsors have made the decision to forego the online event and participate in the late fall in-person event.  Multiple other sponsors scrambled to offer health and wellness value in an online format knowing the digital challenges faced by some older adults.

Traditionally, the event is sponsored by local organizations that align with the Mature Market Resource Center to host senior-related health and fitness events at their facility.

  • Retirement communities
  • Area Agencies on Aging
  • Health clubs
  • Senior Centers
  • Park Districts
  • Hospitals
  • YMCA
  • YWCA
  • Churches
  • Banks
  • Other Community Locations

While some sponsors may still be offering online events, some may not, and the interested potential participant should call their Area Agency on Aging to see what is available locally in a virtual format.

Another option is to contact the Mature Market Resource Center by phone or email and ask what is available in your locale.  Again, this is uncharted territory, and these organizations are scrambling to provide value at the 11th hour for the seniors who benefit from this information. They will be able to guide you to the schedules for your locale or list of providers to contact.

Contact Information for Mature Market Resource Center (MMRC)

Mature Market Resource Center
328 West Lincoln Avenue, Suite 10
Libertyville, Ilinois 60048-2725

[email protected]

Another good resource is the person’s insurance page, in addition to the AAA and the MMRC.

What are some of the resources that will be available online during the event?

The event offers national, state, and local sponsors.  The content of the virtual event provided locally will vary from sponsor to sponsor.  There is one national program available online on 5/27/20.  Regardless of the variety, the content promises to be informative and helpful.

The virtual event has been structured to offer valuable wellness information in a variety of formats. Each sponsor decides the content of their programs, but they could include the following. 

  • Online exercise classes
  • Online demonstrations of products
  • Live interactive presentations and chats on current key topics that impact seniors
  • Information on smartphone apps beneficial to seniors
  • Online resources that offer specific health and fitness information
  • Online games

National Senior Health and Fitness Program

Dr. Paul Burton is offering a free webinar and sharing information about the Heartline Study with a brief Q & A for participants scheduled for 5/27/20 at 12:00 NOON EST.  Interested persons can register for the event here.

The National Senior Health and Fitness Day will offer dial-in presentations for seniors who do not have access to a computer or the internet, which will be provided on registration.

Pivoting to A New Way of Providing Health and Fitness Information in This COVID-19 Time!

Many seniors look forward to the live event with social interaction, goodie bags, coupons, and more at every turn.  Hosting a virtual event is novel for all involved, but there are perks.  Maybe not goodies and coupons, but pivoting to increasing accessibility through online access allows people previously unable to attend a chance to gain valuable information.

Seniors should be encouraged to give this online forum a chance while looking forward with hope to an in-person event in the fall.  The local sponsors who choose to hold modified in-person events on May 27th will appreciate your support, and the others will be happy to see you in the fall.

The presentation may be different, but the information is still relevant. 

Groups that registered to host live events will receive weekly issues of Fitness Day News, the official National Senior Health and Fitness e-newsletter, to distribute to online participants who register.  Also, this year is the first year that the registration fee for sponsors is being waived to encourage more participants both online and in the fall.

The newsletter contains helpful information on home fitness, useful resources, and of course, the most up-to-date coronavirus news.  Many seniors will be staying home for the next several months, and resources to keep them healthy and fit are much welcomed. While the healthcare professionals can’t know the entirety of the long-range impact of social distancing and sheltering in place, they do know that seniors still need mental and physical stimulation at all times to remains healthy and vibrant, even in pandemic times.

5 Benefits of Senior Fitness

1. Cardiovascular Health

Regular exercise (the kind that gets your heart rate up) lowers your risk of heart disease. It can also help to keep your blood pressure down. If you suffer from high blood pressure (hypertension), exercise can even help to lower blood pressure.

2. Stronger Bones

Exercise, especially strength training, protects against loss of bone mass. This leads to a lower risk of osteoporosis, falling, and broken bones.

3. Emotional Health

Physical activity reduces the symptoms associated with anxiety and depression and can lead to improved moods and increased feelings of well being.

4. Healthier Joints

Exercising can help control joint swelling and so can reduce pain caused by arthritis.

5. Stronger Immune System

People who exercise regularly tend to recover more quickly from injury, illness, or surgery. That’s because a strong body is better equipped to fight infection and recuperate effectively.


What Kinds of Exercise Can Seniors Enjoy?

Physical activity doesn’t have to be strenuous in order to be good for you. As a matter of fact, moderate amounts of activity, as long as it is done regularly (daily if possible), can have significant health benefits.

Always consult with your doctor before beginning any new exercise program. Once you’ve got the ok, it’s usually a good idea to start out with short sessions or with low-intensity activities. As you notice your stamina increasing, you can build up from there.

Walking and gardening are popular, low-intensity activities that many seniors enjoy. Others might engage in sports like tennis, golf, or biking. Exercising with weights, resistance bands, or just doing some stretching or balance drills with a chair or exercise mat are also good options.

According to the National Institute on Aging, a well-rounded exercise routine should include exercises that encourage strength, balance, endurance, and flexibility.


Aquatic Exercise – A Great Choice for Many Seniors

Depending on the specific routine, an aquatic exercise program has the potential to include all four components of a balanced exercise regimen.

Many seniors find that aquatic exercise is just what they need to stay active and fit. It’s extremely low impact, so even those with arthritis or other conditions that make exercising difficult to find that they have less pain when exercising in the water.


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