Make Summer The Start Of A Healthier Lifestyle

There are many reasons why people slow down and become more sedentary with age. It may be due to health problems, weight or pain issues, or worries about falling. Or perhaps you think that exercising simply isn’t for you.

However as we grow older, the main ingredients to staying healthy are good nutrition and an active lifestyle. Our bodies are designed for a physical life and no matter your age, muscles continue to grow and change in response to increasing activity as long as we also have adequate nutrition.

Getting moving can help boost your energy, maintain your independence, protect your heart, and manage symptoms of illness or pain as well as your weight. Regular exercise is also good for your mind, mood, and memory but it’s important that we are eating the right foods to support the increased activity. Summertime is a great time to start being more active and to improve our eating habits with more fresh fruits and vegetables available from local farms. No matter your age or your current physical condition, Office for the Aging (OFA) can help you become more active.

Office for the Aging has increased our focus on health and wellness programs over the last 10 years and we hope that older adults will use our programs to get back into the groove of being active. Some of the programs we currently offer include Healthy Bones, Moving for Better Balance, Stepping On, Tai Chi, Tai Chi for Arthritis, and Walk with Ease. We also have educational programs that have a wellness and exercise component including Powerful Tools for Caregivers and the Aging Mastery Program.

Due to the many dedicated volunteers, community partners and even physician’s practices, OFA is offering something in almost every corner of the county. To find out where these programs are happening call our NY Connects helpline at 753-4582, 363-4582, or 661-7582.

Our SHINE (Senior Health Improvement and Nutrition Education), community workshops are based on the Eat Healthy, Be Active program, which is a dietician led course designed for older adults to improve nutrition and become more active. As we get older it may be more difficult to maintain a healthy diet.

People get out of the habit of cooking when there are only one or two in the home, chronic health conditions can make cooking challenging when certain foods or ingredients are restricted and fresh fruits and vegetables are often more expensive and viewed as more work then prepared foods. Eat Healthy, Be Active workshops are interactive and include hands on learning through taste-testing new recipes and simple physical activities that can lead to lasting lifestyle changes.

The course is free to the public and consists of 4 one hour sessions. Sessions include: Enjoying Healthy Food that Tastes Great, Quick Healthy Meals and Snacks, Eating Healthy on a Budget, and Making Healthy Eating Part of your Lifestyle. Two classes are already underway in Dunkirk and Jamestown but more will be happening throughout the year. To find out more or sign up for a class contact the NY Connects helpline.

If a structured class is not for you there are many ways to be active in Chautauqua County this summer. Contact the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau or check out their website to find out about local festivals, activities and events that are happening (tourchautauqua.com).

Chautauqua Institution has a full schedule for the summer and free admission on Sundays for locals to walk and enjoy the grounds. The National Comedy Center, a state of the art interactive experience, is also a great place to visit. If you are looking for ways to be active and involved, the center is recruiting volunteers to help with all the Festival activities. Check out their website at comedycenter.org/getinvolved.

We are so fortunate that our county also has an abundance of outdoor activities like the natural wonders of Panama Rocks, Chautauqua Gorge, Audubon, the lakes and many hiking/walking trails to enjoy no matter your level of fitness. There are also new trails and paths being developed all the time.

The city of Jamestown has just opened a new bike and walking path as part of the Riverwalk. The new path starts across from McCrea Point near Outlet Park and runs along the river at the back of Chadakoin Park to bypass Washington Street eventually connecting with Fluvanna Ave. Enjoy the beauty of the lake on this nature trail that’s only steps away from downtown.

Whatever you decide to do, I hope you make this summer the start of a healthier lifestyle by becoming more active. For more information on anything in this article, call the Office for Aging NY Connects Helpline at 753-4582, 363-4582, or 661-7582.


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