Important advice from fitness experts is to continually challenge yourself in some small way and set goals. Goals can be a cycling distance, walking in an event, taking on a ski trail.
Walk, Hike, Cycle or Ski to Fitness
The easiest way to start your fitness program is by walking. Get a good pair of walking shoes or boots, and some comfortable socks and workout clothes. Join a group of like-minded people. Or find a walking or hiking buddy to keep you both on track.
Head out in your own neighborhood, taking in the scenery, the people and neighborhood parks and gardens. Step it up and venture into other neighborhoods. Or check out walking and hiking trails around town. Find a walking buddy or join a walking group or meetup. Check a neighborhood’s walk score which tells you how easy and safe it is to walk to shopping, activities and transportation.
In the winter, extend your local-motion to snow sports – join other Boomers in fitness activities such as cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. For more about resources, clubs and activities for all abilities, see:
Jogging and Running – Oregon’s Legacy
One guess – What state originated jogging?
Another – What age group advanced it to a health craze?
(Answers: Oregon and the Baby Boomers, of course!)
Are you still jogging along, no doubt a bit slower than you did in the 60s, 70s and 80s? Or is jogging/running for fitness on your bucket list? How about a 5K? 10K? Marathon? Aerobic activities such as jogging and running raise your heart rate and are important to good heart health.
Start with a good pair of running shoes, comfortable socks and workout clothes (no cotton!), and take off. You can jog practically anywhere. Prefer some company? Show up for group runs sponsored by a club or local running store. Most clubs welcome all abilities and you’ll have plenty of company no matter what your pace.
Put a 5K or 10K event on the calendar. Running events attract hundreds and even thousands of joggers, runners and walkers of all shapes, sizes and abilities. Many Boomers jog with their grandkids. Most races are family friendly with kids’ races and walks. What’s not to like about them?
It’s also wise to look into group training sessions that help prepare you for a race. For more information, see:
- Running USA calendar for Portland for a schedule of local events. Find one and sign up. Register on line.
- Running Clubs for list of area age-friendly running clubs.
Just Keep Swimming
Boomer swimmers love the gentle all-body workout water exercise gives them, making swimming a popular year-around fitness activity. Lap swims, lessons and water exercise are available at aquatic centers, parks and recreation facilities, community colleges and public swimming pools.
- See Aquatics Centers for an aquatic facility close to you.
Play Tennis or Pickleball, Anyone?
Tennis and Pickleball are each fun, fit friendly and social activities that go beyond just moving exercise. Swatting a tennis ball across a net pulls in your brain, connecting eyes to racquet hand. To keep relationships harmonious, you can partner with, instead of against, a spouse or friend. It’s easy to get lessons through many community programs and find other Boomer players at activities like the City of Portland’s Senior Mixers.
Pickleball has become a wildly popular sport among Boomers. Much like tennis, players bat balls back and forth on a smaller court, over a net. A solid paddle and squishier ball help slow things down. For more on area pickleball schedules, resources and facilities see:
Join a Community Club/Senior Center/YMCA
Health and fitness – both physical and mental – are a main focus of some 50 senior centers, community centers and YMCAs in the Portland area that gear activities to different ages, abilities and interests.
Located throughout the area, senior centers offer a range of services and activities to help seniors live, learn, thrive, and socialize. Depending on the community, Boomers can take advantage of senior fitness classes in strength training, dance, aerobics, Tai Chi, Yoga and other popular exercises. Some offer senior basketball and volleyball. Many centers also offer classes in lifestyle, health and nutrition to fit the needs of their communities. Most have websites with detailed schedules of free or low-cost classes. For links to area community and senior centers, see:
Look for More Choices: Community College and Parks & Rec
In addition to community centers, boomers can sign up for fitness classes offered by parks and recreation departments of their cities and community colleges. Because college classes and web page locations change seasonally, you may have to dig around some websites for a current catalog. For links to community programs offering senior fitness programs, see:
Find Healthy Lifestyles at Health Care Organizations
Most healthcare organizations in and around Portland offer health-related classes and events to their members and to the community at large. Some have online classes and videos.
Ongoing, popular classes are healthy eating, fitness and exercise, weight management, smoking cessation, healthy lifestyles, support groups, reducing stress, pain management, depression, yoga and many other health topics related to seniors and retirees. Classes are listed on websites and selected from the website classes page.
- Adventist Health, select Classes and Events.
- Kaiser Permanente
- Legacy Health
- Providence Health
- Tuality Healthcare
Check out Fitness Activities Meetups
No matter what your fitness level or interest, there’s a club or Meetup group for you. Meetups are formed by individuals around a common or multiple interests, in this case, walking, hiking or fitness. Joining is either free or inexpensive and gives you online access to the meetup’s scheduled activities.
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