Get moving, it's Active Aging Week!

A physically active lifestyle helps people stay healthy as they age. That's the message promoted by the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA), the world's largest trade association for the senior fitness and wellness industry.

During Active Aging Week, already in progress, older adults will have the opportunity to try various forms of physical activity at a host of locations. On Oct. 1 these activities will coincide with the International Day of Older Persons, a World Health Organization initiative to promote the importance of healthy and productive aging.

Locally, Bayview Wellness Center, a holistic fitness facility, is offering free classes for older adults. Today, Sept. 28, at 3:30 p.m., seniors can engage the question: "Aerobics - what is it and why me?" On Friday, Sept. 30, at 3:30 p.m., the Arthritis Foundation will conduct a class on Tai Chi as a means of increasing balance and strength.

More information about these activities is available by calling Bayview Wellness Center at 281-5771. The facility is located at Bayview Retirement Community, 11 W. Aloha St.

In the past two decades, scientific evidence has confirmed the following health benefits of regular physical activity for older adults:

* protection from the diseases traditionally associated with aging, such as cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis and coronary heart disease;

* prevention of obesity, falls and depression; and

* assistance with the management of chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol, which can result in costly health care, serious illness and death.

Aging adults can also protect their wealth by becoming physically active, says the ICAA. According to the World Health Organization, "Older people spend more of their income on health than any other need or activity." In a 2003 study, Health Partners Research Foundation, a subsidiary of a Minnesota-based nonprofit group of healthcare providers, found that sedentary adults could save on average $2,200 per year in healthcare costs by simply starting to exercise moderately for just 90 minutes per week. Moreover, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that the outcomes associated with being physically active include fewer hospitalizations, physician visits and medications.

The ICAA and Bayview Wellness Center urge people age 50 and older to take that all-important first step toward a physically active lifestyle during Active Aging Week. More information about this initiative is available by visiting[[In-content Ad]]