Retire VA 2019 - 36

Christopulos is one of those who helps
keep up 120 miles of Appalachian trail
maintained by the Roanoke Appalachian
Trail Club and mentions that Roanoke's
Go Outside "has a great map with links to
descriptions online."
Of course, it's not just walking that
creates the noticeable activity in the
Roanoke Valley. Gyms are overflowing
and the SilverSneakers program
(silversneakers.com) has opened the doors
wide for those on Medicare Advantage,
since gym fees are paid by the insurance
carrier. Classes are often full, drawing as
many as 50 participants, for a wide variety
of exercise types from chair yoga and pool
exercises to much more strenuous Tabata
and body pump.
Those who prefer bicycling and
running can find pastoral trails or intense
competition for either or both. The Star
City Marathon and the Thanksgiving Day
Drumstick Dash highlight the annual run
competitions where older Roanokers often
take part.
Dancing is a hot commodity. Whether
it's the Roanoke Valley Shag Club, Dance
for Fun, USA Dance, The Dancing Duo, or
Roanoke's Bonnie Branch's Westies for

36 / Retire-VA.com / RETIRE-VA 2020

DAN SMITH

Carter Center
pool is a beehive
of activity.

swing dancing, opportunities abound.
Sharon Dickenson's U Can Dance teaches
tap and a number of other forms the
elderly can enjoy. The Vinton Senior
Center has line dancing for seniors. The
Boomers still want to boogie.
There are several groups for bird
watchers including Roanoke Valley Bird
Club, the Virginia Society of Ornithology
(which feature noteworthy field trips), the
Virginia Bluebird Society and the NRV bird
club. You can throw in master naturalist
and wildflower clubs too, if you're looking
for hikes with views.
Those with a do-gooder streak and
the need for exercise can join Habitat
for Humanity. Tom Gerdy, who owns a
construction company and has been with
Habitat for years, says there is a unique
opportunity here for the aging.
"Seniors and retired people all over
the country find meaning and pleasure
volunteering with Habitat," Gerdy says.
"Many work on the site and learn about
construction. Some volunteer at the
Habitat Restores or in the Habitat offices.
"Most affiliates have a regular crew
of retired men and women who might
work a day or two a week. Contacting the
local affiliate is how you find out about
volunteer opportunities. Habitat's most
famous volunteer is Jimmy Carter and he
is 94 [and his wife, Roselyn, who is in her
90s]. So I am guessing that there is no age
limit."
Kayaking and canoeing at Carvins Cove
or on stretches of the Roanoke River
provide a a bluewater adventure that older
Roanokers are flocking to. The city even
rents kayaks and canoes at its Carvins
Cove water supply for those who don't
want to make the investment in a boat
and gear. Those who want to venture
out of the Valley a bit will find plenty of


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Retire VA 2019

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