While some seniors may see fitness fanatics like Jack LaLanne on television, groups around the country are offering an alternative that offers people of all fitness levels, even wheelchair users, a way to maintain active living in a supportive environment.
"I probably never would have gone to Alaska if it wasn't for volkssporting," 71-year-old Rose-Marie Neumann told the Tacoma News-Tribune in describing her 10,500 mile journey with a program that offers older Americans a way to keep moving.
The family-oriented events allow people to walk for distances of up to six miles at their own pace, according to the Maryland Volkssport Association, leaving time for participants to wander towards whatever interests them.
One of the few concerns of the MVA in putting on the events is helping walkers find their way among the trails that are often marked with ribbons.
They say to watch out for ribbons along both sides, and then to turn towards the next ribbon, which marks a course deviation.
Getting out and walking consistently through programs like volkssports or other activities may help seniors retain function according to researchers at the University of Pittsburgh who found that exercise helped maintain muscle mass in older Americans.