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Posted: May 23, 2018

Making physical activity a top priority

National Walking Day May 26

Canada’s largest association representing older Canadians has added regular physical activity as a priority for its members and for all Canadians as we age.

To kick off their Stand Up Straight campaign, chapters across Canada are promoting CARP’s National Walking Day on May 26 to highlight the importance of regular, moderate physical activity for seniors as the most effective means to improving the health and well-being of seniors in Canada.

CARP Kootenay Chapter #23, which covers the East and West Kootenay, encourages you to get up and go!

In the Columbia Valley, there are so many things to do that you may have a hard time deciding which to choose! Golf, hiking, biking, kayaking, horseback riding, wildlife viewing…the list goes on.

Just a minute’s hike up from the Fairmont Hot Springs parking lot you’ll find the Fairmont Indian baths (pictured) – treasured reminder of Columbia Valley history. An old stone bathhouse sits on a plateau of coloured tufa rock and tubs carved into the rock in and around the house fill with natural hot spring water, averaging 104-18 degrees F. Views of the Columbia River valley await bathers, who are welcomed 24/7 to this most unusual no-cost “spa treatment”.

For those who prefer a more “urban” experience, the Invermere Art Walk is a summertime celebration of the valley’s diverse, naturally inspired arts and cultural community. Stroll around town to discover or re-discover art by visiting some of the galleries that showcase these treasures. More ‘moving’ ideas can be found by visiting local information centres, or logging on to www.columbiavalley.com.

Fernie has a trail for everyone. From super easy beginner trails to hardcore white knucklers, and all within a 10 min pedal from town, a Fernie Trails Alliance member noted.

The Elk Valley Trail, a 130-kilometre section of the Trans Canada Trail, connects the communities of Elkford, Sparwood, Fernie and Elko to the Cranbrook/Wardner Trail to the south and the High Rockies Trail at Elk Pass to the North. The trail traverses over mountainsides and through the Elk River Valley while providing a combination of single-track, backcountry roads and existing community trails to create an impressive 130 kilometre, signed route

Chose the part that fits you best and enjoy the beauty of the Elk Valley! For maps and further information see www.tourismfernie.com.

Karen Bailey-Romanko

“It’s about friends, fun and fitness. There are so many different ways to get moving…and nowhere more beautiful than the Kootenays to do it,” says Kootenay Chapter 23 President, Karen Bailey-Romanko.

According to family physician, Dr. Iris Gorfinkle, CARP’s medical expert on this campaign, “I am prescribing physical activity to almost every patient who comes into my practice. Exercise is proven to reduce the risk of at least 30 chronic conditions, which is essentially every condition you can name.”

There is a mountain of medical literature on the importance of physical activity, particularly as we age, and the science tells us that it’s never too late to start. Doctors say that if they could put physical activity into a pill and prescribe it to their patients, it would be the best selling medicine of all time.

Walking is the easiest and most accessible form of physical activity.

Walking improves fitness, cardiac health, alleviates depression and fatigue, improves mood, creates less stress on joints and reduces pain, can prevent weight gain, reduce risk for cancer and chronic disease, improve endurance, circulation, and posture, and the list goes on. Plus it’s social and you can share your activity easily with others. And if you opt for something like Nordic Pole Walking, there are added benefits with engaging the upper body, Nordic style.

CARP will encourage our 300,000 members across Canada to participate in walking activities this year, according to their own ability, with the goal of making it a habit that Zoomers will not want to break.

CARP is Canada’s largest advocacy association for older Canadians. Formerly the Canadian Association of Retired Persons, today CARP has more than 300,000 members aged 50- plus. As a non-partisan association, CARP is committed to working with all parties in government to advocate for older Canadians. Its mission is to advocate for better healthcare, financial security, and freedom from ageism. CARP members engage in polls and petitions, communicate with their elected representatives and connect with local chapters at monthly meetings and events. www.carp.ca

Kootenay CARP was launched in May 2015 and has over 950 active members throughout the Kootenays.

Reach Kootenay CARP by emailing [email protected], calling Karen at 250.426.5021 or logging on to www.facebook.com/KootenayCARP.

If you’re headed for Cranbrook on Saturday, May 26, visit committee members at the Cranbrook Farmers Market.

For more information about the national campaign, visit www.carp.ca/standupstraight.

Lead image: Members of the Kootenay CARP Board of Directors playing on the Outdoor Gym at Cranbrook’s Western Financial Place. L to R: Darlene Soeder, Avy Youngs, Kevin Dunk, Corinne Friesen. Photo credit: Laurie Harris

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