New Y program aids over-50 crowd

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April marks the launch of 50 Moving Forward, a healthy living plan designed to motivate adults 50 years and older with fresh ideas around behaviors that experts say are crucial to healthy aging. The plan, a partnership of the YMCA and Pfizer, includes physical activity; preventative measures, such as screenings and vaccinations; healthy eating and social interaction.

The program focuses on practical information, tips and activities that will help the over-50 crowd build healthier lives.

You can enroll in the program for free at the A.C. Lewis YMCA, 350 S. Foster Drive; the Paula G. Manship YMCA, 8100 YMCA Plaza Drive; or the Dow Westside YMCA, 3688 Sugar Plantation Parkway, Addis, or online at www.ymca.net/50movingforward.

These Ys will offer weekly wellness events, classes and workshops, or you can follow the program online.

“Adults 50 years and older are the fastest growing age group at the Y, so it’s important that we offer resources geared toward this population,” says the Y’s Kristen Hogan. “50 Moving Forward does exactly that in an environment that allows adults to focus on health, fitness, preventive measures and fun.”

Adults 50 years and older currently make up more than 30 percent of the U.S. population, and by 2015, they are expected to represent 45 percent of Americans.

50 Moving Forward goes beyond the basic tenets of healthy eating and physical activity, and highlights the importance of helping prevent health problems before they arise through screenings and vaccinations. There’s also focus on the health benefits of staying socially active and connected.

One of the most beneficial things people can do is take steps to prevent illness. Even those who already practice healthy habits should be aware of things that may affect their health because as people age, their immune systems naturally begin to weaken.

While it’s important to eat well and be active, 50 Moving Forward urges individuals to talk with their health care provider about getting regular health screenings and keeping vaccinations current. Every year, hundreds of thousands of American adults are hospitalized from diseases such as influenza, shingles and pneumococcus that could have been prevented by vaccination.

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