Aging Well in the Gorge ~ February 28th, 2024

Every winter, I admire the couples I see walking in the mornings: bundled up in their ski jackets; enjoying the fresh morning air.

But you may be like me: a fair-weather walker, where it needs to be dry, at least in the upper forties; and the wind at my back coaxing me along. Now that we are about to turn the calendar to the first month of spring, I always feel it’s time to put on my walking shoes and get back outside for my daily walks.

Walking is the most popular form of exercise among older adults. There are physical benefits: strengthened muscles, lower risks of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and osteoporosis, and improved balance to lower the likelihood of falling.

It also has social benefits: improving your mood and overall emotional well-being, and helping reduce feelings of depression and stress. And it is one of the few activities where you can share stories with a friend while exercising – it’s not easy when you’re swimming laps!

But if you have been hibernating; avoiding the cold wintery days, snow, and the icy sidewalks, there are a few things to consider when you return to your regular walks.

Don’t be hesitant to start slowly. You can start with just 5 minutes and build up to the recommended goal of 150 minutes a week.

Wear comfortable shoes. If you have foot problems, consider orthopedic shoes, or talk to your healthcare provider about how you can continue your walking program. Physical therapy has strengthened my knees so I can keep walking.

Don’t let a cane or walker stop you. Using a cane or walker can improve your balance and help take the load off painful joints. And help you follow the three rules to live a long and healthy life: Don’t fall! Don’t fall!! and Don’t fall!!!

Aim for the right pace. My preference is a casual walk – trying to slow down my wife! But the recommendation is to walk as fast as you can, while still being able to chat with a friend. You should aim for 100 steps a minute.

Be Aware of your surroundings. Keep an eye out for uneven surfaces and other tripping hazards – and large oak trees!

It’s always recommended that you talk with your healthcare provider before you start any exercise program; and when you have any pain or problems walking which could be a warning of something serious.

One last suggestion: to avoid pain in your feet, knees, or lower back consider complementing your walking by enrolling in one of the strength and flexibility classes such as the “Strong People” class at your local adult center.

The HealthinAging and The National Institute on Aging websites have more tips and resources to help you enjoy the many benefits of walking during this first month of spring.

Brain Tease. A few more Rebus brain teasers which use words or letters to represent common phrases. 1.) MIL1LION, 2.) H O 🙂 U R, 3.) M1Y L1I1F1E, 4.) 53798SAFETY93028.

In the movie “Pinocchio”, the wise and comical character who was appointed by the Blue Fairy to be Pinocchio’s official conscience was Jiminy Cricket. I received correct answers from Bruce Johnson, Judy Kiser, Eva Summers, Rebecca Abrams, Kim Birge, Dave Lutgens, Pat Evenson-Brady, Deborah Medina, Lana Tepfer, Rhonda Spies, Doug Nelson, Tina Castanares, Keith and Marlene Clymer, and Donna Mollet this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket. And last week I missed Bruce Johnson and Carolyn Bondurant.

One more Disney movie question from the past. For this week’s “Remember When” question, what was the name of the 1961 film starring Fred MacMurray as Professor Ned Brainard, who accidentally invents a substance that gains energy when it strikes a hard surface and names it Flubber (flying rubber)? Email your answer to, call 541-296-4788, or mail it with the 1961 – 1962 Medfield College of Technology School Catalogue.

Well, it’s been another week, keeping my eyes open to the beauty around me. Until we meet again, I’ve learned that the average person’s short-term memory can hold about 7 pieces of information. I’m down to four!

“Never drink black coffee at lunch: it will keep you awake in the afternoon.” Jilly Cooper

Nutritious home-delivered and in-person meals are available at noon Monday through Friday unless otherwise noted.

Seniors of Mosier Valley (541-980-1157) – Mondays and Wednesdays; Mt. Hood Townhall (541-308-5997) – Tuesdays; Hood River Valley Adult Center (541-386-2060); Sherman County Senior and Community Center (541-565-3191); The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels (541-298-8333).

For meal sites in Washington, call Klickitat County Senior Services: Goldendale office (509-773-3757) or the White Salmon office (509-493-3068), and in Skamania County call Senior Services (509-427-3990).

Answers: 1.) One in a million, 2.)  Happy Hour, 3.)  For once in my life, 4.)  Safety in numbers.

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