COVINGTON, Ga. — Newton County has a facility dedicated to encouraging senior residents to stay active.
The county’s Senior Services department offers group walks, exercise and sports to keep its members active and fit at its center at 6183 Turner Lake Road in Covington.
The center is a recreation and information center for seniors that “provides a wide variety of wellness, leisure and social opportunities for residents of Newton County,” its website states.
Linda Goddard, activity and volunteer coordinator, organizes the activities and classes for the Senior Center, which requires a membership fee from Newton County residents ages 55 and older.
Goddard said members generally know their physical limitations when they participate in activities such as exercise classes.
“We have people in our exercise class in the 90s,” she said. “Everything is geared toward, basically, what you can do.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommends older adults “move more and sit less throughout the day.”
“Keep in mind, some physical activity is better than none. Older adults who sit less and do any amount of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity gain some health benefits.
“Your health benefits will also increase with the more physical activity that you do,” according to the CDC website.
The agency recommends a mix of aerobic activity (“anything that gets your heart beating faster counts”) and muscle-strengthening activities (“activities that make your muscles work harder than usual”).
It suggests activities ranging from moderate-intensity walking for 30 minutes a day for five days a week, to a mix of vigorous-intensity jogging and moderate-intensity walking coupled with muscle-strengthening activities.
However, the CDC warns that older adults with chronic conditions should understand whether and how their conditions affect their ability to do regular physical activity safely.
“When older adults cannot do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week (for example, 30 minutes a day, five days a week) because of chronic conditions, they should be as physically active as their abilities and conditions allow.”
At the Newton County Senior Center, walking, exercise and a sport called pickleball are among daily activities available to center users for a basic membership fee of $50.
The center is adjacent to Turner Lake and features wooded walking paths in the area surrounding the body of water.
Some exercise sessions are more low impact and geared to those members more advanced in years.
Others begin with warmups using a chair, followed by more high impact exercises for those who want more exercise, Goddard said.
She said, “in the first half, we try to take it easy.” But in the second part, the class is intended to get participants up and “moving and grooving.”
Pickleball is available and is played on a court using paddles — sort of a mix between tennis and ping-pong, she said.
For those younger in mind and body, Goddard said the center offers use of a cardio fitness center that includes elliptical machines and weights for an additional fee.
Other activities that require an extra fee include line dancing and yoga, both of which are led by instructors and are not currently being offered.
Goddard said the center plans to offer the two activities when they are able to hire instructors.
Many seniors enjoy yoga because it allows them to both stretch and relax their bodies and “take some tension” away, she said.
Line dancing is popular because it mixes dancing and exercise, she said.
For more information about Newton County Senior Services, call 770-787-0038, or visit https://www.co.newton.ga.us/227/Senior-Services or https://www.facebook.com/ncscenter/.
For details about what the CDC recommends, visit https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/older_adults/index.htm or https://health.gov/paguidelines/moveyourway/materials/PAG_MYW_OlderAdults_FS.pdf.