Parks & Rec and the Wide World of Sports
Quick. What comes to mind when you hear the word “old”? How about “senior citizen” or “elderly”? If you’re like most people, the first image that sprang to mind wasn’t a kayaker, a top-notch pool player, or a dancer, and it’s probably safe to say you didn’t picture a tri-athlete or a skydiver, either. And yet, senior citizens can be all of those things and more. As people are living longer lives and, frequently, enjoying longer retirements, many find themselves wanting to engage in activities they couldn’t find the time or money for when they were working and raising children. In as much as they are positioned to do so, many seek out new ways to occupy and entertain themselves that challenge our old notions of what it means to be old.
Of course not all activity has to be in the realms of extreme sports or endurance tests to be rewarding and rejuvenating (or to defy stereotypes) and most of it isn’t. Not everyone is an adrenaline junkie or a thrill seeker; and the positive effects that even low-impact activities like walking and gardening have on physical as well as mental and emotional well-being are well-documented. What’s important is getting out there and doing something. Get some air. Get the blood moving. Whether it’s a sun-dance or a stroll, we’d be happy to accompany you.
The greater Washington, DC metro area provides seniors and people of all ages nearly endless resources and opportunities to stop and smell the roses, hyacinths, and cherry blossoms. Here are a few:
- The Capital Crescent Trail runs from Georgetown to Silver Spring, MD. This shared use, off-road trail is popular with walkers, joggers, bikers, and rollerbladers. Lush and well-maintained, it is paved from Georgetown to Bethesda; from Bethesda to Lyttonsville (in West Silver Spring) it is packed, crushed stone.
- Great Falls National Park is an 800 acre park near Washington, DC with access points in Maryland and Virginia. On the Maryland side the Visitor Center is housed in the Great Falls Tavern, built in 1828, and hosts historical exhibits and interpretive programs. The park on this side is also a part of the C & O Canal National Historic Park, and the C & O Canal Towpath is used by hikers, joggers, and bikers alike. Mule-drawn canal boat rides depart from this location April through October. The Virginia side offers 15 miles of hiking trails. Both sides have wheelchair-friendly scenic overlooks.
- The United States National Arboretum in NE Washington, DC sits on a 446 acre campus and is wound through with nine miles of connecting road for bicyclists. Walking tours are also offered and there are four gardens with easy access for the disabled, including the National Herb Garden, the National Bonsai and Penjing Museum, and the Aquatic Garden and Koi Pond. More serious hikers will find many interesting trails on the property as well.
There’s always something to do, and the best reason for doing that something is “because it’s good for me.” If it’s Parkour or snowboarding that gets you there then more power to you; we’d also be happy helping you plant bulbs or taking a walk on the towpath.
Kayakers on the Potomac River: Great Falls National Park