The International Council on Active Aging (ICAA) will kick off its annual Active Aging Week on September 25, 2016, a week of activities designed to encourage participants to celebrate aging and engage in wellness activities. Active Aging Week is meant to prove that regardless of age or health, seniors can live fully and embrace overall wellness. This year’s theme is “Explore the possibilities” and the campaign will encourage exploration and open mindedness.
Throughout the week, each day will center on a certain theme, designed to help participants focus their energy on one specific aspect of active aging. Some of the ICAA’s theme days are listed below, along with some of our ideas on how to celebrate these themes:
Get Social. Everyone has busy lives and sometimes it is easy to get caught up in the daily routine. The ICAA calls Sunday, September 25 “I just called to say…” day. It is a great reminder to reach out to friends and family, even if it is just a phone call. Though on this day, Active Aging Week focuses on staying connected with loved ones who are experiencing hearing loss, it’s a great idea for any person in your life – and a great idea for any day! Having a strong social connection to others can help ward off depression and anxiety and may help achieve a higher quality of life overall.
Be Kind to Your Body. Everyone has a body to take good care of – inside and out – and the ICAA dedicates three days during Active Aging Week to the cause; Tuesday, September 27 for Get Skin Health Smart day, Wednesday, September 28 for Dive into AquaYoga day and Thursday, September 29 for Eat Healthy, Stay Strong day.
The skin is the largest organ, but is sometimes overlooked or taken for granted. As we age, our skin becomes thinner and more susceptible to bruising, which makes being gentle with our skin a necessity. It’s important to take care of your skin at every stage of your life; some of our favorite skincare tips include washing your face every day before bed, keeping skin moisturized by using a gentle daily lotion and wearing sunscreen every day.
Aquatic yoga is one of the ways you can harness the power of water. Water workouts provide a supportive environment; the buoyancy can support muscles and help minimize stress and pain on joints. Don’t have access to a pool? Don’t worry! You can still get great health benefits through traditional yoga or other exercises of your choice. Yoga is great for building strength and balance and requires little to no equipment. While yoga is great for anyone of any age or ability, classes designed specifically for seniors may focus on therapeutic routines to increase range of motion, balance and strength, rather than just a challenging physical workout.
Another way to keep your skin and body healthy is by having a well-balanced diet. If you don’t put good things into your body, it won’t be able to work well and stay strong. Most seniors require more vitamin D, vitamin B12, calcium and iron, but fewer overall calories. In order to keep calories low, try drinking water instead of sweetened drinks and having healthy snacks. Your diet affects every aspect of your body, which is why it is so important to practice good nutrition. A well-nourished body is a happy body.
Celebrate Wellness. At the conclusion of Active Aging Week, the ICAA encourages people to have a wellness celebration. This year is the 15th anniversary of the ICAA, which recognizes all that they do to change society’s perception of aging and help to improve the lives of everyone at the different stages of their aging. Take stock of all the additional activities you’ve done during this week to participate in Active Aging Week. What’s your takeaway? What can you continue to do after the conclusion of this time period to continue your active aging?
Active Aging Week should not be your only motivation to make an effort to actively age or show more compassion and understanding for seniors. Treat every day like it is part of Active Aging Week and you’ll be well on your way to a more fulfilling lifestyle. Aging should not stop you from exploring all the possibilities of life.