(Good Things Utah) While we’ve made summer plans for the kids and grandkids, what about us? Play is just as important for adults! Besides it being plain ole fun, an active lifestyle with social, physical, and meaningful activities can help support healthy aging, according to the National Institute on Aging. So, let’s get active!

In our area, there is a mix of free opportunities for adults this summer from concerts in the park and gallery strolls to offerings at local community centers including Optum’s Community Centers in Layton, Sandy, and West Valley City, which are open to adults 55 and older.

Jeffry Caldwell, who is the manager of the Wellness Team’s Clinical Operations for Optum, and Mike Liston, who leads the Rhythm Drum Circle class at Optum Community Centers, joined us to talk about the importance of being active and trying new things as well as the various classes available to help adults pick up the beat this summer.

Why is it important for adults to have an active lifestyle?

According to the National Institute on Aging, an active lifestyle with social, physical, and meaningful activities can:

  • Lower Risk of Some Health Issues – Participating in social activities may lower the risk for developing some health issues – dementia, heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer
  • Support a Longer and Happier Lifespan – Being active and doing things you enjoy creates a sense of purpose positive feelings is linked to living longer
  • Creates a Positive Effect on Memory – Mentally stimulating or physical activity, may have a positive effect on one’s memory and more variety, the better including activities such as music and dance
  • Are More Resilient – When happier and healthier, people are better able to cope from difficult situations

It’s important to note that every person is different from what interests them to one’s fitness level. Do what you feel comfortable doing and in consideration of your health conditions. You may want to talk with your doctor before significantly increasing your activity level. Try various activity activities and invite friends to join you.

What are the Optum Community Centers?

Optum’s three Community Centers – Layton, Sandy, and West Valley City – provide the 55+ community a welcoming air-conditioned environment to meet people and participate in a wide range of activities to help them be healthy from being active with people their age, enhancing their sense of well-being at home.

Open year-round, there is no cost to visit or join activities. They aim to keep people in the community healthy and feeling their best. The Centers offer a mix of exercise and wellness classes as well as health education and social activities – all on various days throughout the month.

This summer, a sampling of offerings at the various locations include:

SOCIAL – Bridge games, Life biography (writing one’s life story)

EDUCATION – Healthy Minds, Diabetes Education

EXERCISES – Yoga, Zumba, Tai Chi, Line Dancing

WELLNESS – Balance, Meditation, Rhythm Drumming Circles

What is this Rhythm Drumming Circle all about?

  1. It’s not your rock and roll drumming but focuses on pace and tempo with simple hand and arm movements
  2. It’s a fun rhythmic group activity
  3. No experience needed
  4. It’s a one-hour class offered each month at each of Optum’s three Community Centers
  5. Adults sit in a circle and use hand drums and various percussions
  6. Their experienced facilitator, Mike Liston, guides the group through a mix of rhythms and beats

Mike Liston is the owner of Drum Bus and he is the instructor for this class at the Optum Community Centers. For more than a decade, he’s been teaching people of all ages about drum circles. People who have participated in rhythmic drumming find it helps to…

  • Lowers stress
  • Bolsters a sense of wellbeing
  • Strengthens self-confidence
  • Provides an outlet for self-expression, and best of all…
  • Inspires laughter and smiles, which can’t be beat!

Where can people go to participate in the Drumming Circle and other activities?

Adults 55+ can go for free to the Optum Community Centers located in Layton, Sandy, and West Valley City. They are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Each center offers a mix of activities – exercise, wellness, educational, and social.

To learn more about the Centers and classes available – or to pick up the exercise handout, people can visit optumcare.com/utcenters to find the community center closest to them.

Optum Community Centers


Layton – 2146 N. Main Street, Suite 514

Sandy – 1403 E. Sego Lily Drive, Suite 100

West Valley City – 4071 S. 4000 West, Suite 1B

**This segment contains sponsored content