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Parks & Rec program honored for helping local seniors

The Harrisonburg Parks and Recreation Department was recently honored for its efforts to help active seniors in our community.The Harrisonburg Parks and Recreation Department was recently honored for its efforts to help active seniors in our community.

The department’s 50 & Wiser program “Fit and Strong” was declared the Best Health and Wellness Initiative in the state for a mid-sized city at this year’s Virginia Recreation and Park Society conference. More than 500 parks and recreation delegates from across the state were on hand to see Harrisonburg’s program be chosen from numerous nominees.

For program coordinators, the designation of Best Health and Wellness Initiative is a testament to the hard work of Parks and Rec staff and the many senior participants.

“We’ve received great feedback from our participants, and been told that ‘Fit and Strong’ has changed some of their lives while others have said it has helped them make real friends,” 50 & Wiser Senior Program Coordinator Lynn Hoy said. “We’ve even been told that some of our program members have improved their wellness to the point that doctors have reduced their prescriptions because they aren’t as needed anymore.”

“Fit and Strong” began as an initiative to help seniors “use it” so they don’t “lose it” after a poll showed Harrisonburg seniors felt they needed more opportunities to be active to promote personal health. The program was designed to educate and provide a meaningful but fun wellness session series that participants could incorporate into their daily lives with the goal of becoming more mobile and physically fit. It was specifically focused on seniors with lower extremity osteoarthritis or lower body pain.

“We really love being able to make an impact in our community through some of these truly unique programs we offer,” Parks and Recreation Marketing and Special Projects Coordinator Brittany Clem said. “We have a number of other opportunities for people of all ages and interests, so we hope people will check us out and come get engaged.”

Find more information about Harrisonburg Parks and Recreation programs at www.harrisonburgva.gov/parks-recreation.