According to census data, more than 10,000 people turn 65 every day, making ‘baby boomers’ the fastest growing age group in the country. Additionally, two out of every three people older than 65 have at least one chronic health condition. Research from the National Institute on Aging and numerous other health entities clearly indicates that lack of physical activity puts us at increased risk for many chronic diseases.

Whether you are counting steps, taking a 30-minute walk or relaxing with a yoga session, it takes intentionality to ensure that we get adequate physical activity every day. A variety of physical activity is also an important consideration. Our bodies benefit from each of the four types of physical activity: Endurance, balance, flexibility and strength. People often associate strength training with body builders, but everyone – regardless of age or fitness level – can benefit from basic strength training, as it contributes to overall health and can enhance independent living and quality of life.

If you are someone who has ‘missed the fitness bus’ through the years, or you just need to jump-start a stalled routine, consider participating in the Stay Strong Stay Healthy program offered by University of Missouri Extension. The program, which was created for adults 55 and older, is based on simple strength building exercises, which will also improve balance and enhance overall health. In this group class, participants start at a level that is right for them and increase effort at a pace that is comfortable.

MU Extension specialists will offer a Stay Strong Stay Healthy class onTuesday and Thursdays mornings Jan. 9 through March 1, at Noland Road Baptist Church in Independence. There is a $40 registration fee and all equipment is provided. Because class size is limited, pre-registration is required and participants will have preliminary paperwork to complete before participating in class.

For more information or to pre-register, contact Denise Sullivan at the Jackson County MU Extension Office at sullivand@missouri.edu or call 816-482-5850.