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Nicole Albrecht (left) and Kelly Badker stand with 114 pinwheels in front of the Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) of Marinette County. Each pinwheel represents a case of elder abuse investigated in Marinette County last year.

Overcoming midlife barriers to exercise and better health

American Heart Association News

It can literally be as easy as a walk in the park.

Just 30 minutes of movement—anything that gets your heart beating faster—five times a week is all it takes to meet federal guidelines for physical activity. In fact, the goal is 150 minutes a week, whether it’s split up daily or not.

And there’s plenty of reason to do it: Study after study finds physical activity—especially in midlife—is critical to preserving good heart and brain health as people age. Yet despite the wealth of research that shows staying active is one of the most effective, and affordable, means of warding off chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes and dementia, statistics show relatively few people in midlife move as much as health experts say they should.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly one-third of U.S. adults over the age of 50 get no physical activity outside of work.

“Midlife is a busy time,” said Margie Lachman, a professor of psychology at Brandeis University and director of the Boston Roybal Center for Active Lifestyle Interventions. Her team studies the barriers to physical activity as well as ways to keep people moving in midlife and beyond.

“What we have found is the biggest barrier is not having enough time,” she said. “Typically, people in midlife have multiple roles and they are multi-tasking like crazy, working, raising children and sometimes also caregiving (for) older parents, not to mention other responsibilities they might have in the community.”

And all those responsibilities contribute to another barrier to exercise—fatigue.

These obstacles—while daunting—don’t have to be insurmountable, Lachman said.

She recommends setting goals and following up with a plan for where and when to exercise. Her research published in the journal Psychology & Health found middle-aged adults who believed they didn’t have enough time to exercise increased physical activity, as well as their confidence in achieving exercise goals, if they used planning tools.

Incorporate movement throughout the day to make every moment count, she said. “Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk your child to school, if that’s an option. Take a walk with a co-worker instead of sitting down for a meeting. Every little bit you do adds up.”

If nothing else, Lachman said, just walk.

The rewards will follow.

Senior menus: Week of June 21

Editor’s note: Please call ahead to the meal site to ask about any COVID-19 protocols in place.

Marinette County

Meals are served in the Marinette Senior Center on Ludington Street, Monday through Friday. Reservations may be made by calling 715-735-9686 the day before the meal. Beverages are served with each meal. Suggested donation is $4.50.

Meals are served at the Peshtigo Center Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Reservations may be made by calling 715-582-9920.

Meals are served at the Crivitz-Pound meal site (Crivitz Senior Center) Tuesday through Friday. Reservations may be made at 715-854-7453 or 800-990-4242.

Residents of Wausaukee can be put on a home delivery list and to be put on the list, people may call 715-854-7452. For Niagara Senior Center, meals are served Monday through Thursday. Reservations for Niagara may be made by calling 715-251-1603.

The Goodman meal site, held at Goodman Town Hall, is open Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Reservations may be made at 715-336-2343.

Monday: Chop suey and rice, chow mein noodles, hot applesauce and bar.

Tuesday: Hamburger on a bun with tomato and lettuce, potato salad, fruit and ice cream.

Wednesday: Pork chop with gravy, parsley potatoes, Monterey blend veggies and peaches.

Thursday: Beef and macaroni hot dish, corn, whole wheat roll and fruit parfait.

Friday: Breaded cod, baked potato, coleslaw, rye bread and bar.

Menominee County

Participants in the meals at the Menominee Senior Center should call in reservations the previous day to 906-863-2158. For Stephenson call 906-753-6986. All meals served with bread, margarine and milk. Suggested donation is $3. Menus subject to change without notice. Substitutions are made for diabetics.

Monday: Breaded chicken tenders, oven potato, baked beans and watermelon.

Tuesday: Turkey broccoli casserole, Italian vegetable, fruit cup and ice cream dessert.

Wednesday: Beef steak with mushroom and onion, cheesy potato, baby carrots and tropical fruit.

Thursday: Pork chop, twice-baked potato, green beans and peaches.

Friday: Ham Swiss sandwich, veggie macaroni salad, fruit cocktail, cookie and juice.