skip navigation nih record
Vol. LXVII, No. 21
October 9, 2015
cover

previous story

next story


Go4Life
Stepping Toward Healthy Aging—A Capitol Walk

The sun is shining, the air is crisp, the leaves are turning golden amber—what could be better than an invigorating walk outside?

If you happened to be in the nation’s capital on Sept. 18, you might have seen a sea of older adults along with a few recognizable faces doing just that. U.S. Surgeon General Vice Admiral Vivek Murthy, National Institute on Aging director Dr. Richard Hodes, fitness expert Donna Richardson and White House Conference on Aging Executive Director Nora Super were joined by more than 100 energized older adults from across the Washington, D.C., area for a scenic walk from the Hubert H. Humphrey Bldg. past the United States Botanic Garden, the west side of the U.S. Capitol, several presidential monuments, the Peace Monument and back again.

The event: A Capitol Walk with Go4Life. The inspiration: the Go4Life exercise and physical activity campaign for people 50+ from NIA and Step It Up! The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities.

Leading the Capitol Walk were (from l) NIA’s Dr. Chhanda Dutta, Edwin Walker, Nora Super, Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy, Donna Richardson, NIA director Dr. Richard Hodes, NIA deputy director Marie Bernard and NIA’s Dr. Lyndon Joseph.

Leading the Capitol Walk were (from l) NIA’s Dr. Chhanda Dutta, Edwin Walker, Nora Super, Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy, Donna Richardson, NIA director Dr. Richard Hodes, NIA deputy director Marie Bernard and NIA’s Dr. Lyndon Joseph. Below, an energetic participant warms up before the walk.

Photos: Charles Archambault

Both NIA and the surgeon general’s office are actively encouraging people to get moving, no matter their age. Go4Life calls for a balanced exercise program of strength, flexibility, balance and endurance. One way seniors can help to meet those goals is by walking, which the surgeon general pointed to as “one of the most powerful things we can do to improve our health.”

U.S. adults tend to become less active as they get older. As a result, they miss out on the health benefits of regular physical activity, such as reduced risk of disability, heart disease, obesity, stroke, diabetes and other chronic conditions.

“The good news,” noted Hodes, “is you’re never too old to start exercising. That’s what motivated NIA to launch the Go4Life campaign.”

Established in 2011, Go4Life looks to empower older adults to become more physically active with age. It offers exercises, motivational tips and free resources in English and Spanish to help people get ready, start exercising and keep going. With its more than 300 national and local partners, the campaign reaches into communities to help older adults be active every day.

an energetic participant warms up before the walk.

A Capitol Walk with Go4Life was NIA’s premier local event in recognition of the campaign’s inaugural month this September in collaboration with the White House Conference on Aging. Many Go4Life partners and supporters joined NIA for the walk, including HHS’s Administration for Community Living; the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, of which Richardson is a member; the National Council on Aging; Oasis; Georgetown University School of Nursing; Sunrise Senior Living; the Association of State and Territorial Health Organizations; the HHS FedStrive occupational health program; and the D.C. Metropolitan YMCA.

The walk was but one event featuring aging and exercise during Go4Life Month. Across the U.S., partner organizations hosted a wide range of activities including workout classes, relay races, free health screenings and health and wellness fairs.

NIA’s Karen Pocinki, director of Go4Life, said, “Older adults are awesome. This event and those taking place across the country highlight how important it is to stay active to stay healthy. It has been a labor of love to translate research results into practical tips and tools to help individuals Go4Life every day.”

A walker from the YMCA shared her sentiment. “Today’s event? Remarkable. Why? Because we get a chance to show people that seniors like us don’t have to sit on the sofa. We’re active and we want others to be active, too!”


back to top of page