Judson Haims: Young and old are prepping for summer, but make sure to do it the right way | AspenTimes.com

Judson Haims: Young and old are prepping for summer, but make sure to do it the right way

Judson Haims
Special to The Aspen Times

There are few other communities where the summer activities are revered as much as here in our mountain communities. Regardless of age, people here love being outside and taking advantage of the many activities provided. Prepare your body for the summer activities.

Last week I went mountain biking around town. Donned with headphones and good tunes, I made my way out for a ride. Along the way, I passed many young families with kids in tow and numerous road and mountain bikers. As I passed the parks on Maroon Creek Road, I noticed a few people already attending to their gardens and cleaning the front yards. It seemed as if much of the community was taking pleasure in every moment of warmth that broke through the clouds.

After a long winter spent inside, getting our bodies ready for the summer activities may take some time and thought. Regardless if your exercise choice involves planting flowers, preparing the lawn, walks, golf, runs, cycling or just moving better, it is always a good idea to take some time to prepare your body. Getting outside to take advantage of all the activities available to us is a great way to get exercise — just prepare yourself.

Of course, we all know it’s better if you maintain your weight and keep up with exercise year-round … blah, blah, blah. But, for those of us whose 30s and 40s are a decade or more behind us, weight maintenance and daily physical activity may have become a little more challenging. So, assuming that you now have a desire to get that creaky body moving and ready for some summer activities, here is some info you may want to be aware of.

Adults of any age need at least 2½ hours of moderate physical activity each week. Being active at least three days a week is a good goal. Activity levels are very personal, and people should find an activity that is appropriate for their fitness level. If you are not too active, start by walking, riding a stationary bike, and of course, stretching.

Also, if you have been more sedentary than active this winter, including activities that improve balance and reduce your risk of falling is imperative. Consider trying some of the local yoga and pilates studios. Here are a few I know of: O2 Aspen, Aspen Shakti and Arjuna yoga are in Aspen, and in Basalt there is Vimana Yoga, along with TAC Fitness and Elevation Fitness — both of which have worked with some our clients.

For those who just want to get out of the house and explore our valley, Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES) offers fabulous guided hikes and walks. They also provide summer youth science camps in addition to many adult seminars.

Keeping fit as you age does not mean you have to go to the gym or change your life drastically. Acknowledging that many age issues like muscle loss, deteriorating bone density, problems with balance and declining strength are attributed to a lack in exercise and nutrition, may be a good start to motivating change.

Our body is much better at repairing and maintaining itself when kept well-conditioned via a program of regular physical activity. If it’s been awhile since you’ve done regular physical activity, it’s important to start with a good evaluation of where you are right now. This will be your foundation for putting together an effective exercise and activity plan. You may even want to consider seeing one of our valley’s many physical therapists for an evaluation and to get ideas of a regimen specific for you.

Integrating a bit of physical activity into your day can be as simple as doing some stretching exercises while watching TV. Even parking your car at the far side of the market and walking to the store as opposed to hunting for the closest parking space has benefits. A short walk around the block every day is by far better that not walking at all. Small steps can make a big difference in your health.

Young or old, don’t jump into summer activities without preparing your body for a change in activity level. Stay hydrated and enjoy the summer.

Judson Haims is the owner of Visiting Angels Home Care in Aspen, Basalt and Carbondale. He is an advocate for our elderly and is available to answer questions. His contact information is http://www.visitingangels.com/comtns or 970-328-5526.