Staying active physically as you age directly contributes to improving your mental and emotional health.
Some of the simplest ways to stay active during a pandemic in the South Cariboo – and still stay in a bubble and remain physically distant – is to join a walking club, go curling or check out the local bowling league.
Karen Smith, who has been curling with her husband Gord ever since they were married 48 years ago, said the sport offers a little light competition and exercise.
“Once I got over tripping over the rocks and got into the game and knew what I was doing, it was the best thing to do,” Smith said. “You just learn so much from other people, they’ve got great advice.”
Even with their COVID-19 restrictions in play this year, curling still a great sport, Smith said, and that spirit of community is strong, especially among older players. Unlike some sports, just because you get older doesn’t mean you have to stop, Smith added.
“Everybody finds their own sport that they like but not everyone is really athletic,” Smith said, adding that while she’s never been particularly athletic herself, she’s really enjoyed playing the game over the years.
However, for those looking for something less strenuous, there are other options such as walking groups like the one based out of the Interlakes. Organized by Amanda Oldfield, it’s a great way to not only get out of the house but also to socialize and exercise, said Interlakes Community Centre program coordinator, Maggie Benzing.
Oldfield sends out messages via email and Facebook once a week announcing the location of their walk somewhere along Highway 24 where the members will then meet on Wednesday at 10 a.m. for a one and a half to two-hour walk. Between two and 10 people will show up for the walk, sometimes with their dogs as long as they’re well behaved and kept on a leash. The walkers range from those in their mid-twenties to mid-sixties, Benzing said.
“It’s in our bylaw for the hall that we encourage elder people to be active so right now we don’t have a lot of programs inside of the hall because of the social distancing but we still have yoga once a week and pickleball three times a week,” Benzing said, adding that both the walking group and their other programs are all volunteer-run.
An added benefit of the club is that it makes walking safer Benzing said. Oftentimes the trails will go off into the bush and if you get injured it’s much safer to have a group of people with you.
Meanwhile, Big Country Lanes Bowling alley is also busy this year. Owner Larry Richet said the alley offers people to stick within their bubbles as he can separate groups by keeping an empty lane in between the bowlers. “It’s crazy right now,” he said. “I would say our numbers are equal to last year.”
Anyone looking to give curling a try this year can sign up for the 100 Mile Curling Club’s drop-in curling league on Monday’s at 6:30 p.m. or Wednesday’s at 11 a.m. Players will need to provide their own equipment this year, though, due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“Get out and have fun, whatever it is you wanna do get out there,” she said. “Get out, get exercise and get some fresh air, it’s a beautiful community and we’re so fortunate to live here.”