Seniors Staying Fit in Coastal DE, part 2

Regular activity provides a menagerie of health benefits, a bit boring to list, but SO exciting to imagine!!! Increased memory, more flexibility and balance, greater positivity and stronger memories… What motivation to get up and on the move so we make more of every day we’ve been given!

Our last edition concentrated on pickleball and hiking. But there are many more options throughout the Delaware coastal areas for staying fit. Let’s take a look at a few more.

Y-O-G-A, a short word with incredible benefit. Although relaxation and reflection are two of the biggies that come to mine, an hour-long yoga session leaves the body with a full-range workout. According to the American Osteopathic Association, yoga regularly leads to “increased flexibility, muscle strength and tone, improved respiration, energy and vitality, balanced metabolism, weight reduction, cardio and circulatory health, and improved athletic performance”. In addition, yoga helps a person manage stress, which is known to have devastating effects on the body and mind.

“Yoga offers so many benefits to those of all ages”, says Erin Shivone, yoga instructor at Lanikai Wellness Studio. “For seniors it helps build strength and flexibility. On a mental and emotional level, yoga brings a sense of peace and calm,” she says. “A daily practice of even 10 minutes of mindful breathing and movement can change our lives for the better”. (Want to learn more, start with Yoga: Why It’s Not Just for Women Who Want to Stretch | Beach Yoga)

Then there’s BIKING. A low-impact, high energy alternative which also boasts numerous health benefits. Low impact means it causes less strain and injuries than other forms of exercise, while still providing a good muscle workout. Cycling uses all major muscle groups as you pedal. Biking increases stamina, strength and aerobic fitness. (And since once you learn, you don’t forget—most of us can pick it back up quickly.)

BONUS: it doubles as a mode of transport. Bill Gorodetzer, ride coordinator for Sussex Cyclists, says that physical fitness is a big motivator for joining the group. Members in their 50s and 60s want to get stronger while those in their later years just want to hold on to what we’ve got”, he says. Most already are bikers but members represent all levels of experience.

Sussex Cyclists offers members a way to maintain cardio-vascular fitness while also providing a social outlet. Rides start at multiple locations from Milton to Bethany and some include a “beer gathering” at the end. The group advocates safety and enjoyment.

ALPINE SKIING provides some of the same health benefits as biking and some you may not have considered. Cross country skiing is known as one of the best aerobic exercises available, especially as we gear up for winter. It may sound a bit far-fetched but there is an organized ski club nearby, and many members are retired–so a chance to connect as well! The Salisbury Ski Club (MD) has been in existence since 1964. It meets once a month usually at a local restaurant. ” Over the years, the Club has introduced hundreds of Delmarva residents to this increasingly popular sport which helps to ease the cold sting of Winter.”

Swimming is a great way, all year long, to burn calories and de-stress at the same time. Swimming uses all the muscles in the body so you will get a full body workout. Exercising in water makes your body work harder so 30 minutes in a pool is worth 45 minutes of the same activity on land. Even as the temperatures start to drop, we’ve got plenty of indoor pools in Sussex County to choose from (heated!) And, of course, there is always the bay and the ocean that calls even as fall moves into winter. Need the motivation of a good cause, plan ahead for this February’s upcoming Polar Bear Plunge.

Like many of the other activities mentioned, swimming increases energy levels, helps contribute to a positive mental outlook and it also provides exercise without the sweat. Getting active and staying fit is just plain GOOD FOR US. It’s possible benefits include improved cardiovascular health and circulation, reduced arthritis, joint and knee pain, increase in bone density, stronger muscles, better balance, decrease in feelings of depression and isolation, increased cognitive function, better scores on memory tests, improved reaction time and weight maintenance. On a mental health note, the Alzheimer’s Association advocates regular physical activity as a way to combat dementia.

Here’s to getting these great benefits and making the most of each new day!

By Mary Jo Tarallo, Resident Journalist

Mary Jo Tarallo spent much of her career in public relations with various non-profits and spent 40 years involved with the ski industry as a journalist, public relations director for a national trade association and as executive director of the Learn to Ski and Snowboard initiative. Prior to her ski industry involvement she worked for the Maryland International Center in Baltimore and United Way of Central Maryland. She won a Gold Award for TV programming for a United Way simulcast that starred Ophrah Winfrey. She has been cited for her work by numerous organizations. Mary Jo grew up in Baltimore, attended the University of Maryland and Towson University, lived in Washington, DC for 21 years and has been a full time resident of Rehoboth Beach and Milton since May 2019.  

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