Stay Healthy

Read on to find ways to promote healthy aging for mid-life and older adults. 

Find out about programs proven to successfully help older adults make healthier choices with physical activity, healthy eating, and self-management of chronic conditions.  Examples of popular programs available in Minnesota include:  Arthritis Foundation Self-Management Program®, Enhance®Fitness, and Living Well with Chronic Conditions.  These programs offer classes across Minnesota. 

Find a class.

For more information on staying healthy, see the National Council on Aging.

Physical Activity

Studies show that moving your body every day can cut your chances of developing depression, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, stroke, and certain kinds of cancer. And physical activity helps us stay healthier if we have these conditions. Less than half of adults get the amount of physical activity that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends.

Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. It can prevent many of the health problems that seem to come with age. It helps your muscles grow stronger so you can keep doing your day-to-day activities.

Not doing any physical activity can be bad for you, no matter your age or health condition. Keep in mind, some physical activity is better than none at all. Your health benefits will also increase with the more physical activity that you do. Almost everyone can do some type of physical activity. If you have concerns about what kind is right for you, check with your doctor.

To learn more about physical activity from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, go to: CDC Physical Activity Guide.

There are many exercise programs available in communities around Minnesota. It is important to choose a program that is safe and effective for you. The programs listed below are available in many Minnesota communities. These programs are good for people with low or high levels of physical activity and are joint-friendly.

Arthritis Exercise Programs

Many people believe once you get arthritis, you just have to live with it. Arthritis doesn’t have to slow you down. Physical activity is one of the best ways you can manage the pain from arthritis and stay healthy. Many people with other chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes or asthma, also have arthritis. Their arthritis may be keeping them from being active and taking care of their other conditions. The following programs are great for people of any age with arthritis and for those with arthritis along with other conditions. These programs are led by certified leaders.

Arthritis Foundation Aquatics Program®
The Arthritis Foundation Aquatic Program® is a recreational community exercise program in a warm water pool. It helps increase joint flexibility and range of motion It also helps restore and maintain muscle strength and relieve pain and stiffness. The exercises are done in chest-high water and you don’t need to know how to swim to participate. The program is taught by certified leaders.

Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program®
The Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program® is a community-based, recreational group exercise and education program. It is a low impact program with multiple exercise components that help reduce pain and stiffness, increase joint flexibility, mobility, strength and endurance. The program can be adapted for various fitness levels and the exercises can be done either sitting or standing. The program is taught by certified leaders.

For those interested in implementing this program

Contact the Minnesota Department of Health’s Arthritis Program at health.arthritis@state.mn.us to learn more about implementing these classes in your community or becoming a class leader

EnhanceFitness®

If you enjoy becoming and staying fit in a group setting, EnhanceFitness® classes are for you. EnhanceFitness® classes feature exercise techniques specifically designed for adults age 50+, including strength training (with weights), balance exercises, and cardiovascular conditioning. Participants work at their own pace (including seated versions). Our highly trained instructors provide personalized attention so you can meet your health and fitness goals.

Research has shown that these award winning classes have the ability to significantly improve overall fitness and health.

Classes are usually held for 1 hour two-three times a week for ten weeks.

For those interested in implementing this program

Contact Debbie Hanka at dhanka@ucare.org to learn more about becoming an EnhanceFitness® instructor.

Healthy Eating

Eating well is one of the best ways to stay healthy and is easier and cheaper than you think.
Healthy eating helps us:

  • feel healthier
  • have more energy
  • prevent chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and cancer and help us stay healthier if we have them
  • prevent acute illnesses, such as colds and flu
  • save time and money
  • increase our chances for living a longer, more satisfying life

The Healthy Eating for Successful Living® workshop is for people who want to learn more about nutrition and how lifestyle changes can promote better health. The program stresses heart and bone healthy nutrition strategies that are important to preventing or managing most chronic health conditions and help maintain or improve wellness and independence. Classes are held for 2 hours once a week for 6 weeks.

For those interested in implementing this program

Contact the Minnesota Department of Health, Healthy Aging Program at health.aging@state.mn.us to learn more about offering the program in your community or becoming a class leader.

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