The month of June is dedicated to celebrating all the hard work and contributions seniors have done to help build and improve communities across Ontario. Seniors have been a vital part f communities for many years. Throughout history seniors have acted as mentors for younger generations, teaching them a variety of life skills and cultural traditions such as cooking, child-care, how to navigate difficult life situations and sharing stories about their heritage. Since seniors play such an important role in society, it is essential for them to stay healthy and continue to share their knowledge.

What happens to your body as you age?

As you age, your body goes through numerous changes. According to Mayo Clinic, apart from the physical changes like wrinkles and grey hair, there are plenty of hidden changes going on within your internal systems. Some changes you may not be able to see can include changes to your muscles, bones, memory and cognition, senses and cardiovascular system. Muscles and bones can weaken and lose mass which can affect balance and coordination. Age related changes in the brain can impact thinking, causing some seniors to forget minor details or struggle more with certain tasks. As for your senses, declines in vision and hearing are also common problems associated with aging.

When it comes to changes in the cardiovascular system, one frequent change is the narrowing and stiffening of the blood vessels. When blood vessels become narrowed due to stiffening or a buildup of plaque, the heart is forced to work much harder in order to circulate blood throughout the body. This added stress on the heart can lead to more serious health issues such as arteriosclerosis (hardened arteries), hypertension (high blood pressure), arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat), stiff or leaky valves, and thickened heart walls.

Lifelong habits may dictate what age-related changes you may face, when they may come on, and the severity of them. Although some cannot be prevented, there are steps you can take to slow down these changes or mitigate the associated health effects. Some examples of actions you can take to help improve your health and stay healthy longer include:

  • Stay physically and mentally active
  • Eat a healthy and balanced diet
  • Avoid substance abuse (such as alcohol and tobacco)
  • Manage stress
  • Maintain a healthy weight


If you are looking for a senior-friendly physical activity, Northern Hearts 21st annual Walk with Doc and Friends will be held Monday through Thursday, June 17th to 27th from 7:00pm – 8:00pm. The program invites local physicians and organization to host a short, social walk outdoors. This year we ill be walking at Boulevard Lake (meeting at Rita Street picnic area). Northern Hearts is a proud participant of this year’s ParticipACTION Community Challenge, a program designed to encourage individuals to get active, connect with others and help Thunder Bay be crowned Canada’s Most Active Community. The walk is free to attend, and no registration is required, so feel free to bring friends and family!

For updates on the Walk with Doc and Friends follow Northern Hearts on Facebook and Instagram (@NorthernHeartsThunderBay)

Submitted by Northern Hearts Program Coordinator, Lana Ryder-Methot.