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Young at Heart April 2022

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Peggy Pollard, Teacher www.PeggyDance.weebly.com Santa Cruz Waltz & Swing In-Person & Online Dances & Lessons Waltz Tribe membership Grow your mind, body & soul Dance to music you love Sign up Now for upcoming Classes! 1777-A Capitola Road, Santa Cruz 95062 www.seniornetworkservices.org A Nonprofit Community Agency Santa Cruz County's Official Information & Assistance Provider call: 831-462-1433 email: info@seniornetworkservices.org Unbiased, No Cost Medicare Counseling Santa Cruz call: 831-462-5510 San Benito call: 831-637-0630 email: hicap@seniornetworkservices.org Shared Housing I Housing Navigation I Home Help call: 831-462-6788 email: housing@seniornetworkservices.org Respite Registry I Respite Grants call: 831-462-0880 email: respite@seniornetworkservices.org SENIOR NETWORK SERVICES Mt. Madonna Park... continued from page 1 Woodpeckers, Western Scrub Jays, Northern Flickers, Red-Shouldered Hawks, and Red-Tailed Hawks. "One year, there was even a pair of Golden Eagles, though I haven't been lucky enough to see these myself," says Hamblin. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the park hosted many interpretative programs throughout the year including amphibian hikes, tours, and star gaz- ing events. Staff do not know when programming will resume, but when it does events will be posted on the website goout- sideandplayhere.org. Mt. Madonna Park has an archery course available as well as a few trails that allow horseback riding. For archery, people need to bring their own bows and arrows and any other necessary equipment; the park provides hay bales and targets on these bales. No reservations are necessary, and there are no fees except for the standard park parking fee ($6). The equestrian trails are currently closed due to recent rains, but they will reopen when they are safe. Interest- ed in doing horseback riding but don't have a horse? Try Mt. Madonna Stables (408-663-1665). This business, not affil- iated with the county, has permission to offer people guided rides on the park's trails. The park is located off of Highway 152; visit the web site for directions. The visitor center is tem- porarily closed. Mt. Madonna County Park, 7850 Pole Line Rd., Watsonville Site: parks.sccgov.org/ santa-clara-county-parks/ Mt.Madonna-county-park Park Office 408-842- 2341 Park hours: 8 a.m. to sunset 10 Reasons to NOT Social Dance Along with our spring- time appearance of hummingbirds, lilacs, and elephant seals, our Santa Cruz social dance commu- nities are re-emerging too, from our two-year Great Dance Hibernation. Some dance programs, like February Asparagus, have already sprouted early, while others come later, forming slowly but powerfully, like our apples and elephant seals. Meanwhile, our social dancers have now re-shuf- fled into two strata. A stubborn few like myself, never stopped dancing, continuing online and wherever we could safely find dance partners. We are now rewarded with continuing dance stamina, able to enjoy long sessions of hearty polkas and in- vigorating swing dances. But sadly, most other dancers gave up when in-person dances closed. They lost their dancing strength, are now winded by a mere song or two, have grown mushy in brain, flagging in foot- work. For these sad dropouts who lost their momentum, the barriers to returning to dance look high. So we must help them (you?) overcome, by understanding their many powerful reasons to NOT return to our social danc- ing goodness! REASON #10. I love my UNHEALTHY HAB- ITS that make me feel bad. Perhaps overdosing on, well so many sub- stances are available to abuse, but let's just name two examples: Cheetos (as described in Weird Al's "Inactive" song parody) and simply inactivity -- sitting too much. Harvard Medicine Health News reports in this week's arti- cle "The Worst Habits for Your Brain,' that the aver- age adult sits for six-and- a-half hours per day, and all this chair time does a number on the brain. A 2018 study of people ages 45 - 75, showed more hours sitting per day correlated with cognitive decline and dementia. So if you PREFER to welcome dementia sooner, best to avoid social dancing, or other vigorous physical activity that prevents it. Also, Cheeto dust repels dance partners. REASON #9. I want to keep feeling DE- PRESSED. Hearing bad news that you cannot take any action to change causes depression. Our past two decades of global warming, six years of political turmoil, two years of COVID panic, and our last two months of horrible war, we are all prone to deep despair. So- cial dancing is, of course, a potent antidote for depression. Even small movements to music are powerful vectors for big happy feelings, changing our psyche's direction from passivity to purpose- ful positivity. Even if you cannot change the actual bad news, you CAN change yourself, starting with a single, musical step, trig- gering happy hormones to start flowing. But if you prefer your negative gloom, then definitely do NOT start tapping your feet to "Can't Stop the Feelin.' " REASON #8. I have NOTHING TO CELE- BRATE. Not the sinking of Russia's Moskva flagship aircraft carrier. No birthdays, holidays, weddings, losing a pound, starting a new job, quitting that job, births, deaths, anniversaries--just a grey continuum of a joyless life. Yecchhh. It works. I feel depressed all over again. REASON #7. I don't want to CONNECT WITH POSITIVE PEOPLE. One can dance alone, to be sure. But physical contact, however slight, creates a powerful change of mood. Palm to palm, arm around shoul- der or waist, even pinky finger to pinky finger, if structured safely, gives a close sense of compan- ionship, a deep feeling of community as you move in harmonious partnership with another human body. So don't touch, if you prefer to feel isolated. REASON #6. I don't want to FIND RO- MANCE. A respectable reason to not dance, especially if you already have a romantic part- ner. But you might also develop safe friendships to share magical sparks of romance in the partner dancing itself—for only a 3-minute commitment. So be sure NOT to do that if you DON'T want to feel any twinges of romantic playfulness. REASON #5. With our flood of WEDDING IN- VITATIONS this spring, I prefer to be a party-poop- er. Avoid irrational exuberance on the dance floor in our post-covid wedding whirlwind. Glowering in a dark & lonely corner while everyone else jumps for joy to celebrate bride and groom will ensure I am forever remembered as the bump-on-a-log grumpy old uncle/aunt friend/ bridesmaid by my favorite bride & groom. REASON #4. I AM the Bride/Groom! But I don't want to kick off my own post-ceremony cele- bration in an optimistic way… best to not get my new spouse's hopes up. Simpler to skip delighting him/her and save our en- ergy for petty arguments due to lack of shared joyful moments. REASON #3. I DON'T LIKE MUSIC. Since I don't know how to find the beat of the music, I don't know how to launch a social dance with a partner. So better to not learn how, even though a good teacher like Peggy can teach me. My soul is better off not being awak- ened from my cold, sterile hibernation. REASON #2. I DON'T WANT TO LEARN new ways of moving. Best to not explore my brain's learning capacity -- 10% usage should be plenty. REASON #1. I like to USE MY TIME INEF- FICIENTLY with many simple activities that satisfy only small parts of my body-mind-soul self, thus feeling always unfin- ished and unsatisfied. An elderly lawyer I know recently noticed his di- minishing of mental and physical agilities. So he learned new hobbies to strengthen each skill: jug- gling, playing a musical instrument, calisthenics. Each one helped in a spe- cific way. But the single activity of social dancing gives a wide variety of such benefits for your body, mind and soul in the least amount of time. So definitely DON'T partner dance, because, by golly, that would benefit all those areas in less time! (Unless you would rather get happier quicker, and find something better to do with all your leftover hours?) Bigstock photo Contributed photo By Peggy Pollard, Santa Cruz Waltz & Swing www.Peggy- Dance.weebly.com

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