Hey sis, have you checked out AARP’s Virtual Community Center? If not, you’re missing out on an impressive array of free educational and interactive virtual events and classes. By becoming part of this community, you can sample events from over ten categories, including Cultural Connections, Food & Drink, Work & Money and Exercise & Wellness, that will fill your social calendar and dance card with activities designed for learning, self-improvement and fun. You never know what you might find!
Coming up, there’s a lot of cool stuff to participate in, all from the comfort of our abodes. Enjoy low- to moderate-impact fitness class options to tone and tighten and increase core strength, balance and flexibility. Just a few options are Yoga Timeout Tuesdays and Tai Chi Thursdays (both through the end of December). You won’t want to miss a couch concert with CeCe Winans, a conversation about entepreneurship with fashion designer Tracy Reese, immunity-boosting and stress-reduction tips, Movies for Grownups film screenings and much, much more.
“The chef shared the shopping list for both classes ahead of time so that those of us participating could shop for ingredients and then cook together in real time. And thanks to the chat feature, attendees shared comments with each other and questions for Chef Michelle Fox.”
AARP membership is not required (although membership has its exclusive benefits), and did I already mention that registration is free! Some events, however, have virtual attendee limits and fill up quickly, so check the AARP Virtual Community Center calendar often to see what’s coming up.
My Google calendar quickly filled up, starting with a fascinating virtual tour of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Missouri. This event hit a nostalgic note. My parents used to take me out to the ball game when I was a kid. (I still remember the hot dogs we smuggled in in a thermos.). This virtual tour, thoughtfully led by Museum President Bob Kendrick and followed by a live chat, also satisfied my love jones for cultural travel. It gave me more insight into an important era in Black history. (Black baseball players could not play in the major leagues until Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier and integrated baseball in 1947.) And, the experience made me proud of my family’s connection to the Negro Leagues: My great uncle was an executive for the Baltimore Elite Giants.
To step up my culinary game, I also checked out the hands-on “Eating for More Energy” cooking class, led by bubbly culinary nutrition specialist Michelle Fox. Fox gave attendees easy-to-follow recipes for an antioxidant-packed breakfast elixir made with cacao powder, which may lower anxiety and blood pressure. She also whipped up a satisfying smoothie chocked full of anti-inflammatory ingredients like banana or avocado, greens (spinach, chard or kale), unsalted pumpkin seeds and plant-based milk. Did I mention the yummy gluten-free blueberry muffins? I also registered for Fox’s class on how to use seasonal veggies. The chef shared the shopping list for both classes ahead of time so that those of us participating could shop for ingredients and then cook together in real time. And thanks to the chat feature, attendees shared comments with each other and questions for Fox, which made the experience immersive and interactive.
Next up, I look forward to interrupting my sedentary work routine and boosting my energy via a variety of online dance and yoga classes (different styles like Hatha yoga, chair yoga and yoga fusion pop up often).
A bonus benefit of participating in this virtual community is that even if you’re not sure you can tune in to an activity at the scheduled time, it still makes sense to sign up because your registration creates an email link that allows you to replay a webinar if you missed it.
Once you start browsing, there are so many activities to enrich and enhance your day, week or month that it can easily become hard to stop registering for events! It’s like eating potato chips, only a lot healthier, satisfying and social.