Traverse City Record-Eagle

Body & Soul

March 1, 2014

Senior Focus: Active living in winter

You can tell we live in a northern wintry region just by watching the snow pile up along the roadways. One way for seniors to diminish the hassle of dealing with the snow, is to experience the scenic beauty of snow-covered trails, trees and frozen lakes, while cross-country skiing or snowshoeing.

In an effort to promote an active lifestyle for seniors, the Senior Center Network initiated the cross-country skiing and snowshoe groups.

Cross-country skiers meet at Timber Ridge on Tuesday afternoons each week. A group of snowshoers meet Thursday afternoons at various trails in the area.

John Morris facilitates both groups.

“I love cycling, but I love cross-country skiing and snowshoeing even more,” Morris said.

He moved here from Iowa a year and a half ago. “If you need someone to provide leadership, I’m your guy. It was one of the those things … there was an opportunity waiting and it fit perfectly with my interests.”

An active lifestyle encompasses leisure time physical activity and exercise, along with physical chores and hobbies, by definition. Any body movement that results in an increase in energy expenditure, is considered active living and is relevant to health. As people get older, the goal should be to stay nimble and strong for as long as possible.

Cross-country skiing can be a good winter option in perpetuating active living for older adults, because it is easy to learn, is a low impact sport and a great workout, an effective activity for burning calories and building cardiovascular fitness.

What also makes cross-country skiing possible to everyone, regardless of age, is that the sport allows individuals the freedom to ski and advance at his or her own pace.

They can stay on flat terrain, challenge themselves with hills or rest when tired.

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