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Find a Fitness Center That Fits You

AARP and ICAA offer online locater for age-friendly exercise programs

You've probably thought at least once — or twice or many times — that you need to become more physically active or fit. As we age, we understand that staying active is not simply about maintaining health; it's also about preserving our independence, our well-being and our quality of life.

Yet the thought of trying to mix in with the spandex crowd or cycling to heavy metal music isn't terribly appealing. And who among us doesn't have a tricky knee or arthritis or some other condition?

After age 45, you're more likely to be selective about where you go to exercise. Plus, you probably want to work with professionals who are knowledgeable and happy to see you.

Fortunately, you can go to fitness, community and recreation centers that feature appropriate programs and equipment for the older crowd. Finding them has now become easier with the Age-Friendly Facilities and Services Locator.

AARP has teamed up with the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA) to increase awareness of — and access to — age-friendly wellness and fitness centers and services. Both ICAA and AARP are committed to helping you find the kind of facilities and services that will support a healthier and more active life.

"Many older adults want to find community programs or facilities that can help them be more active, but they don't know how to find them," says Cheryl Matheis, AARP's senior vice president of health strategies. "By teaming up with ICAA to promote a locator tool, AARP hopes to reduce a potential barrier to exercise."

ICAA's easy-to-use online directory features wellness and fitness settings and community programs that can help people 45 and older achieve a more active lifestyle.

Search the clickable map by facility type and location to find facilities or services in North America that meet your specific needs.

The Age-Friendly Facilities and Services Locator offers several useful features:

• Only organizations that welcome and accommodate older adults can enroll in the program. Before being listed, the organization is required to sign a code of conduct in which it agrees to follow all industry standards, provide age-specific screening and activity programs appropriate to each individual, and provide trained staff who work within their scope of practice.

• Icons for all activity levels immediately identify whether or not you can be accommodated, and they also indicate services for people who need ongoing assistance, new exercisers, people who are already active and masters athletes.

• You will know whether or not a center offers the AARP Walking program, Silver Sneakers or the The Y's Active Older Adults programs — along with descriptions of other equipment or programs.

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Visit the AARP state page for information about events, news and resources near you.