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The original item was published from 7/6/2013 7:37:00 AM to 7/8/2013 11:53:38 AM.

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Posted on: July 4, 2013

[ARCHIVED] In July: Celebrate the surprising benefits of recreation

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As most anyone over 65 will tell you, as you grow older, motor functions decline, including “endurance, reaction time, flexibility, gait velocity, and muscle strength.”(2) Perhaps the most dreaded consequence of aging is dementia and Alzheimer disease. While there’s no cure for aging, research shows there is a way to slow it down – perhaps even delay the onset of dementia. That remedy is recreation.

This month, Eugene Recreation is celebrating the many surprising benefits of recreation by giving you a few examples.

In one study, elderly women who participated in a 12-week program consisting of outdoor leisure activities and callisthenic exercises “gained significant range of motion, grip strength, movement time, and basic functional movement abilities.”(3) Other studies associated walking with a reduced risk for dementia and Alzheimer disease. Still another study demonstrated that “persons who exercised 3 or more times a week had a 32% reduced risk for developing dementia.”(2) The authors also pointed out, “exercise does not prevent dementia but might be associated with a delay in onset.” If these findings are confirmed, the authors commented, “senior citizens may have more reason to ‘use it even after you are losing it’”(2)

Whether you want to ward off AD or just feel fit, Eugene Recreation has an activity for you. The Aquatics program offers a variety of water fitness classes to suit your desired intensity. Land fitness classes include several different yoga classes, Tai Chi, and dance classes from ballet to Zumba gold. If you prefer to exercise on your own, try lap swimming or work out in one of the City’s two well-appointed fitness centers. Then there are walking and biking groups, and outdoor activities including hikes, kayaking, skiing and more. It’s all waiting for you to reap the benefits. Watch the video, “Vi” about a septuagenarian who loves lap swimming and calls her good health “a miracle.” http://vimeo.com/cityofeugene/vi

We want to know why you love recreation. Post your reason to one of Rec’s Facebook pages, send us an email or handwrite your answer on one of our I Love Recreation handbills that are available at any Community Center or Pool. When you give us your reason, you’ll be entered in a drawing for a $50 Recreation gift card.

Recreation: building bodies and brains while having fun playing games.

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