The birds are returning, the breeze is turning warmer, the days are growing longer, it’s spring! For many seniors, spring is a welcomed season. If you and your group are feeling the effects of cabin fever after a long, cold winter, Spring Into an Active Lifestyle by trying a few of our ideas below.
NATURE WALKS – As the weather turns warmer and the snow melts away, arrange for your group to explore local parks and hiking trails. Many hiking trails are handicap accessible; ask your local Parks and Recreation Department for a list of parks suitable for your group. If the weather is too brisk for a long hike, consider walking around your community.
NATIONAL READ ACROSS AMERICA DAY (March 2) – Take the pledge and enroll your community in National Read Across America Day. Invite a local daycare or elementary class to your community for this event. Then, pair members with the students and encourage your members to read a book with their buddy. Read more about the national event: http://www.nea.org/grants/886.htm
RED CARPET SOCIAL – Celebrate the 90th Academy Awards Ceremony in style by rolling out the red carpet for a Red Carpet Social. Encourage participants to dress up for the event. As they arrive, have staff take their photos. Serve appetizers and sparkling juice, and reminisce with your group about their favorite Hollywood stars. Another options: Show pictures of favorite movie stars of the past. View movie clips. Feature a Hollywood trivia game. Give out awards that fit your community – Most Friendly Resident; Most Helpful Staff Member, etc.
GARDEN CLUB – It may be too early to start planting outdoors, but it’s never too early to start planning your garden. Visit a local nursery with Garden Club members for inspiration. Then, draw out a plan to tackle this spring season. Members can start growing vegetable plants indoors by planting seeds in Dixie cups or empty egg cartons.
GET MOVING – Encourage members to move more throughout their day by adding more physical movement activities to the calendar this month. Movement activities don’t have to be long to be beneficial. Try seated calisthenics before a lecture, form a post-lunch walking club, and lead members in healthy exercises as they gather for dinner.
PAINTED ROCKS – Get active by joining the Kindness Rocks movement. The idea is that you decorate a rock and then place it in a location for others to find as a random act of kindness. Purchase small, smooth flat rocks at your local craft store. Instruct participants to paint designs on their rocks using acrylic paint and small paintbrushes. Once the paint has dried, seal the design with a coat or two of Mod Podge. Then, place the rocks throughout your community or take them with you on group outings to leave behind.
SOCIAL BUTTERFLIES – Part of having an active lifestyle is staying connected with others. Encourage your group to socialize more throughout the month of March by planning a variety of social opportunities. From coffee clutches to book clubs, from board game groups to “Meet Your Neighbor” Happy Hours, you can label social events with a butterfly icon on your calendar. As members participate in various “social butterfly” events, enter their name into an end-of-the-month drawing where one lucky winner receives a prize.
SPRING REMINISCENCE – After a long winter indoors, encourage participants to enjoy the fresh air of spring by taking them outdoors to reminisce about spring. As participants feel the warm sun on their faces and smell the fresh air that spring offers, memories of spring will come flooding in. Ask participants about the first flowers of spring and look for them popping up around your community. Reminisce about spring chores, spring break, childhood games, and other spring activities they previously enjoyed.
NUTRITION NOTES – March is National Nutrition Month. Invite a dietician or nutritionist to give a brief lecture on healthy foods and balanced meal planning. Ask them to bring samples of healthy snacks that your members can try, or copies of healthy recipes that participants can take with them to try on their own.
MIND THE MIND – Explore Mindful Meditation with your group this month and help boost participants’ brain power. End an activity with one minute of mindful breathing. Instruct participants to close their eyes and focus on their breath. Inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth. As they exhale, instruct them to let go of their thoughts and focus on their breathing.
SPRING CLEANING – Turn a dreaded chore into a fun event by planning a spring cleaning rummage sale. Give each participant a box for gently-used clothing or household items. Then, host a rummage sale where members can browse and purchase or trade items. Don’t forget to clean out your activity closets as well. Give some of your activity items to participants who have no items to trade, so that they can also participate in the event.
NATIONAL CRAFT MONTH – While you’re busy spring cleaning your closets, set aside extra craft kits or leftover craft supplies that have been piling up in your space. Then, plan a grab-bag craft corner. Put leftover craft kits into brown paper bags, along with instructions. Set out additional craft supplies that participants may need, such as glue, scissors, pencils, and markers. As participants come to the activity, allow them to grab a craft and make it. This could be a great one-on-one activity or a take-home activity, too.
WELLNESS FAIR – Consider hosting a wellness fair at your community this March. Invite representatives from various health and senior organizations to sponsor booths and distribute information. Ask your marketing team to help with this event, as it’s a great outreach event for their department.
SPRING INTO AN ACTIVE LIFESTYLE TRIVIA
- Which meal is considered the most important meal of the day? Breakfast
- Approximately how many steps do experts recommend that you walk each day? 10,000
- Finish this Benjamin Franklin quote: Early to bed, early to rise… Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise
- Sleep experts recommend that adults get about how many hours of sleep each night? 7-9 hours
- A pound of muscle burns how many more times calories than a pound of fat: one, three, or five? Three
- Approximately what percentage of American adults are considered to be sedentary: 25%, 30%, or 40%? 25%
- How many glasses of water should you aim to drink each day? 8 glasses
- Finish this phrase: An apple a day… Keeps the doctor away
- When it comes to chocolate, which type is considered to be the healthiest option: white chocolate, milk chocolate, or dark chocolate? Dark chocolate
- In 1976, Dr. Linus Pauling recommended that we take high doses of which vitamin for good health? Vitamin C
SPRING INTO AN ACTIVE LIFESTYLE THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH
“Take care of your body; it’s the only place you have to live.” ~ Jim Rohn
“Spring Into an Active Lifestyle” was written by Erin McCart. Copyright 2018 ElderSong Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.
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