Possessing vitality and feeling well are participation sports. For retired, aging baby-boomers, it’s tempting to take it easy. The winter months can be difficult; we feel like “holing-up.” That’s okay, but don’t let inactivity become your main activity.

We are fortunate in Seattle. To counter inactivity, we have a robust parks system with programming focused on the needs of the 50+ crowd. Seattle Parks & Recreation has a variety of activities and events –  each tailored to a specific subset of the aging crowd. The “Lifelong Recreation” programming takes into account individuals’ needs and abilities.

The lineup ranges from physical fitness to social outings. There are even activity options for individuals with limited mobility and/or dementia.

A multitude of resources

Did you know Seattle Parks has eight year-round public swimming pools plus two seasonal pools?

Did you know Seattle Parks & Recreation has 13 drop-in fitness centers? The cost to use? $3.00. If you are over age 65, it’s only $2.00!

There are 17 drop-in locations for pickleball. Volleyball, badminton, basketball, and table tennis are available at some community centers. Use of these spaces is free if you are 50+.

What do senior physical-fitness programs look like? There is circuit training, aerobics, Pilates, Tai Chi, yoga, and dance. There are water exercise programs for people with arthritis and exercises for improving balance.

In addition, Seattle Parks has field trips to points of interest that include trail walking and hikes of various lengths. Maybe you’d like to go on a guided tour of the Central Seattle Public Library, the Museum of History and Industry, or the Starbucks Roastery?

For the more adventuresome, how about snowshoeing? Or, how about 3 to 6-mile-long hikes exploring Seattle’s diverse neighborhoods? Want to take your dog? There are 2 to 3-mile walks shared with other dog owners.

It’s well known that ongoing social interaction slows aging; therefore, programs facilitating interaction are part of the Lifelong Recreation line up. How about storytelling? Lunch and a movie? An afternoon at a performance theater? Cards and games? An overnight adventure to Ocean Shores or a day trip to Crystal Mountain?

Feeling creative? How about oil, watercolor, or portrait drawing and painting? Printmaking?

Using your archive of still photos, how would you like to create an audio and visual story of your life? Do you want to learn new computer skills? How about refreshing your driving skills at a driver safety class?

Would you like to volunteer? The parks department organizes treks to the Food Lifeline to help with the handling and packaging of food. How about volunteering at an elementary school? That’s an option.

For those with dementia, there are special dance, art, and music classes.

Activities are hosted at Seattle’s 28 Community Centers. It’s amazing how varied the programming is for the 50+ crowd. There is a richness of opportunity for staying active and engaged in living.

In addition to the Seattle Parks & Recreation programming, ten neighborhood Senior Centers in Seattle host activities.

Request a brochure

Here’s a link to the most up-to-date directory of Seattle Parks’ Lifelong Recreation for ages 50+: http://www.seattle.gov/Documents/Departments/ParksAndRecreation/Programs/LifelongRecreation/LRPWinter2017Online11-30-16.pdf To receive a catalog in the mail, send a written request to Lifelong Recreation, 4554 N.E. 41st Street, Seattle, 98105.

You can directly contact Seattle Parks Lifelong Recreation at 206-615-0619.

Because many of the 50+ crowd have limited incomes, Seattle Parks has a scholarship program that waives 80 percent of participant fees for those who meet the income criteria.

So, come on, get out of your cocoon! Crawl out of your winter nest! Staying physically active and mentally engaged are the best remedies for slowing down the aging process. Take advantage of the opportunities right at your doorstep.

MARLA BECK is the founder and president of Andelcare Inc., which provides in-home eldercare. Submit questions by calling (206) 838-1844 or via e-mail to marla@andelcare.com.