COLUMN: We have to keep moving forward

Staying social and healthy – on foot

What a wonderful way to spend a weekend!

A vacation right in our own backyard – a staycation. No border or ferry lineups. Canadian dollar at par. An opportunity to chat with tourists from around the world.

The only extra thing I had to pack was an umbrella.

Staying at the Sylvia Hotel on English Bay was a journey back in time. Dressed in Virginia creeper just starting to change colours as autumn approaches, she is a grand old dame who has shared her history with visitors for over a century, including the swashbuckling actor Errol Flynn.

In fact, Sylvia was a real person whose photos don the corridors. She lived to be 102. I am thinking it was likely because she breathed in all that smoke-free Vancouver air way back when. And she probably did a lot of beach walking.

There is something intoxicating about the smell of salty sea air.

For me, the draw was so enticing that it made me want to walk the entire seawall around Stanley Park. Strolling the 11 kilometres at a snail’s pace is such a West Coast thing to do, stopping to admire the view or the great blue herons or eavesdropping on conversations.

Generally, walking is something Zoomers can do even if it means using Nordic poles, a walking stick, cane or a walker. Walking is good for you, so good, in fact, that CARP National has added an advocacy issue called Stand Up Straight. CARP CEO Moses Znaimer says, “It’s time for Zoomers to stand up straight, and move their buns, to preserve their body and their minds.”

I couldn’t have said it better.

According to the CARP website, walking is the easiest and most accessible form of physical activity. It improves fitness, cardiac health, alleviates depression and fatigue and improves mood. It creates less stress on joints and reduces pain, can prevent weight gain, reduce risk for cancer and chronic disease, and improve endurance, circulation and posture.

Plus it’s social and you can share your activity with others.

Doctors say that if they could prescribe the benefits of moderate physical activity in the form of a pill, it would change the healthcare landscape.

There is a wealth of evidence to show that moderate activity, even if started much later in life, is good for you… and can improve the quality of life as we age.

CARP will encourage members across Canada to participate in a group walking activity this fall.

If you would like to learn more about Stand Up Straight, tune into Joytv’s new weekly series called CARPe Diem, seizing the day for Canadians as we age.

The episode features a panel including Moses Znaimer and Ramona Kaptyn, president of your White Rock Surrey CARP chapter. It airs on Joytv (Shaw 10 and Telus 123) on Sept. 17 at 5 p.m. and repeats on Sept. 21.

To quote Moses, “The best way to keep going is to keep going.”

And what better way than by walking right here at home.

I can’t think of a better staycation.

April Lewis is the local communications director for CARP, a group committed to a ‘New Vision of Aging for Canada.’ She writes monthly.

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