According to the Social Security Administration, senior citizens who reach the age of 65 are more likely to live an average of another 15 years.
With the average life expectancy in America at 77.9 years old, Senior citizens are becoming more aware of maintaining their health. This is not only dependent upon doctor visits and taking medication.
Through exercise, diet and social activities, seniors are finding that the quality of life can be improved and they can increase their strength through exercise.
Not all seniors have access to fitness centers or health clubs; many cannot afford to join the commercial ones and some towns don't have community centers for senior citizens. This doesn't mean that there are no methods for seniors to address the situation.
So, with a little creativity, seniors have found a way to get their exercise on a regular basis in a safe, efficient manner, regardless of the weather. And, besides, it's free!
Throughout America, there are a multitude of shopping malls. In many locales these malls have become sensitive to the needs ot seniors, not just as consumers by providing the products that seniors may need or want to purchase.
But many malls are now opening their main entrances an hour or so before their stores to allow seniors to come into the malls and walk. That's right; seniors are getting their exercise through mall walking!
Given some thought, it is a brilliant idea. Seniors can meet at the mall and walk together at whatever pace is comfortable for them, without getting in the way of shoppers and without getting run over by young people riding on their "wheelies". There are benches everywhere, so if someone needs to take a break, they can just sit down for a few minutes.
There are public rest rooms at the food courts and water fountains for those that don't want to carry water bottles with them. Most importantly, there is mall security so that the seniors are safe.
Of course, walking outside is the ideal solution whenever possible, breathing fresh air and enjoying nature. However, this isn't always possible. Consider weather as one variable.
A senior who is used to walking three to five times a week may live in a town like Seattle where rain and dampness could make walking outside uncomfortable. Young people may not mind the moisture, but it may affect a senior with arthtritis in a painful way. Then, of course, there is temperature.
When the mercury dips below a certain number, many seniors prefer to stay indoors (unless they live in Florida), but if they have transportation to the mall, once inside they can take advantage of the constant indoor temperature and not have to worry about a cloudburst causing them to seek cover.
During the winter, in colder climates, heating a residence may be very expensive for a senior citizen on a fixed income. Before leaving for the mall, the thermostat can be turned down, saving money on heating.
Conversely, in the summer, seniors can save money on energy by turning off their air conditioning and going to the mall in the morning or even later on in the day to take advantage of the temperature control and at the same time, they can get their exercise.
In one small town in Florida, there is a group of seniors who meet regularly at the local mall to walk a number of laps.
They get there early and many of them leave before the stores open. But, there has to be some benefit to the mall, as well. These seniors feel comfortable walking there, so they feel comfortable shopping there.
They appreciate the facility providing them with a free, safe place to exercise and therefore, they are more likely to patronize the businesses whose windows they look through while walking. Not all seniors are on fixed incomes.
Some who live alone just enjoy the comfort and company of others like them, so meeting at the mall is a great place to start the day.
Perhaps, once they're done walking, they'll stop and buy a cup of coffee and go shopping for themselves or their grandchildren.
Healthy seniors generally pose no threat so the malls have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
The seniors get their daily walks, make new friends, stay safe, warm and dry, and the community knows that the mall is providing one extra service beyond offering movie theaters and stores for consumers.
With the growing number of seniors in the population, especially the growing number of healthy seniors, shopping malls provide a great environment for those seniors to get their exercise.