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Miami-Dade Parks Celebrates National Older Americans Month

Encouraging adults age 55 + to start living happier and healthier with fee-free recreation options available to them at 13 Miami-Dade Parks Active Older Adults Recreation Centers.

MIAMI (May 03, 2016)

May is National Older American Month, celebrating the contributions of older Americans to our nation and promoting ways to improve their health and well-being.

Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department is long committed to helping older adults in Miami-Dade to stay heart-healthy and engaged in their community. Through its Active Older Adults program, residents age 55 and over are learning about healthy eating, exercising and enjoying nature in beautiful park spaces, improving their physical strength and expanding their social circles. Started in 2013, the program offers numerous fee-free recreational opportunities at 13 park locations county-wide. 

Here are some of the ways Miami-Dade’s older adults can jump start their healthy-living routine with Miami-Dade Parks: 

Get active!  Explore one of 21 Fitness Zone® Areas. These free outdoor gyms are ADA-accessible and are designed to help you become active and break the obesity cycle.  The exercise stations feature easy-to-use gym equipment for cardio and strength training and accommodate wheelchair workouts. 

Get healthy!  Miami-Dade Parks and Walgreens present weekly Healthy Choices Clinics at its 13 Active Older Adults Recreation Centers. The clinics provide blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol screenings, as well as, immunization shots for Flu, Pneumonia and Shingles. There are also registered pharmacists on hand to answer questions regarding medications.

Get social!  Meet new friends and participate in Tai Chi, Zumba Gold, walking clubs, sewing, ceramics, adaptive aquatics, yoga, tennis, water exercises, field trips and so much more at Miami-Dade Parks’ Active Older Adults Recreation Centers. 

Get green!  Just get out to a park and be surrounded by all the greenery and amazing park vistas and feel healthier. No kidding, ‘greenness’ is good for your health. 

A new study of a quarter-million Miami-Dade County Medicare beneficiaries showed that higher levels of neighborhood ‘greenness,’ including trees, grass and other vegetation, were linked to a significant reduction in the rate of chronic illnesses, like diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol, particularly in low-to-middle income neighborhoods. The study was led by Scott Brown, a research assistant professor at the University of Miami (UM) Department of Public Health Sciences and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, a Malcolm Matheson Distinguished Professor in Architecture at UM, is the first of its kind to examine block-level greenness and its relationship to health outcomes in older adults and measure its impact on specific cardio-metabolic diseases.  Miami-Dade Parks Director Jack Kardys and Maria Nardi, chief of Planning and Design Excellence, joined the research team, participated in data interpretation and co-authored the article, “Neighborhood Greenness and Chronic Health Conditions in Medicare Beneficiaries,” published online April 6 by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

“The fact that people live three years longer, points to the vital role parks and green space have on health and well-being, and to the critical need to have a holistic approach in planning,” said Kardys, who believes that this work, “suggests extensive potential for park, open space and streetscape design.” Kardys also presented the study’s findings during a public forum at the sixth annual Great Park Summit last month in downtown Miami. 

For more information regarding Miami-Dade Parks’ Active Older Adults programs and activities, call 786-372-9701 or visit the web page.

Miami-Dade Parks is supported by the Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade and focused on Placemaking, Health and Fitness, and Conservation and Stewardship.