Senior Circles: Find fun and fitness at Active Aging Week functions

How do you plan to celebrate Active Aging Week 2012, Sept. 23-29? Are you going to start taking a new fitness class, join a bowling team, play a game of ping pong, take a walk or take a tap-dancing class?

Many of these activities are available at Prince George's County's senior centers, so get moving and have some fun.

But don't just do the activity for Active Aging Week. Keep it up throughout the year.

The International Council on Active Aging, founded in 2001, holds this annual health promotion week every year during the last week in September. This year's theme is "Many journeys, many destinations," which implies to me that seniors have a lot to do and many places to go.

This special week will be celebrated at senior centers and retirement communities, which will provide opportunities for older adults to choose an active lifestyle. These activities might include health talks on diabetes, arthritis and depression; nutrition presentations; brain fitness exercises; even concerts and dancing, and sometimes free refreshments and giveaways.

The ICAA provides simple guidelines for local organizers of Active Aging Week events: Activities should be fun and in a no-pressure atmosphere, educational and free to participants, so that cost is not a barrier to attendance. Activities are planned for seniors age 60 and better.

The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission kicks off Active Aging Week in Prince George's County on Monday, Sept. 24, from 9 a.m. to noon, at Lake Artemesia, 5400 block Berwyn Road at Ballew Avenue, in Berwyn Heights. At the Silver Sneakers: Walk, Pedal Paddle event, you can put on your sneakers and walk, pedal a tandem or 3-wheel bike or paddle a kayak.

You can sign up for transportation to the event at the registration table in the lobby of the Laurel-Beltsville Senior Activity Center, 7120 Contee Road. Call 301-446-3400 after 8 a.m. the day of the event for weather cancellation. Learn more about all the great activities offered at or call staff at 301-446-3400; TTY 301-446-3402.

During Active Aging Week, the Laurel-Beltsville Senior Activity Center is also offering two free events. Seniors and their families can experience a Wellness Extravaganza, Monday, Sept. 24, from 5 to 7 p.m., featuring vendors who provide a wide variety of senior services, medical equipment and more.

Women of Color Serving Seniors is partnering with the center to provide this extravaganza. WOCSS brings together professional women of color who provide services to seniors and their loved ones. Register at the registration table in the lobby.

At The Mind, Body and Spirit Connection, Friday, Sept. 28, from 9 a.m. to noon, you can learn how the mind, body and spirit work together in the aging process, participate in exercise demonstrations and discussions on nutrition, and learn how the mind plays a part in the way we age.

This free event is sponsored by the Prince George's Senior Providers Network. Reservations requested. Call 301-206-3350.

The North Laurel 50+ Center, 9411 Whiskey Bottom Road, offers a senior fitness pass for those age 50 and older through Howard County Recreation and Parks and a 50+ center member. Annual membership is only $25, if you are a Howard County resident. Senior Fitness membership times are Monday through Friday, 8 to 11 a.m.; Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 1 to 3 p.m.; and Monday and Wednesday, 3 to 5 p.m.

The North Laurel Community Center, where the North Laurel 50+ Center is housed, also offers center membership and Fit4U Fitness packages for all ages. Packages for times other than Senior Fitness times are available from Recreation and Parks.

North Laurel 50+ Health, Wellness and Fitness classes for a fee include Enhance Fitness, Gentle Yoga, Age Well Exercise, Zumba Gold, Pilates and Tap Aerobics. The center also offers free exercise counseling, fitness center guidance and nutrition counseling. Ongoing programs include a walking club, line-dance drop-in, blood pressure screenings and brain health assessments.

The walking club meets Monday through Friday at 8 a.m. for a brisk walk around an indoor track (12 laps equals one mile). Cards are available at the front desk to record your distance and time.

Are you moving yet? If not, get active and change the way you age.

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