Yuma, Arizona (NAPSI) - Today’s boomers are retiring in record numbers and many are challenging a number of popular stereotypes about retirement and aging.

For instance, according to the Federal Interagency Forum on Aging-Related Statistics, the percentage of active seniors has continuously increased since 1998, and many are seeing the benefits of their activity. A recent report published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that adults who lead an active lifestyle live up to 5.5 years longer than those who don’t.

The desire to be more active as they age is also driving many changes in what boomers demand from retirement communities and the menu of amenities that those communities offer.

To help boomers find a community that’s a good fit for a retiree with a more active lifestyle, here are some tips from Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS), a leading national operator of active-adult communities.

• Consider unconventional sports, such as pickleball or Zumba, both of which are resident favorites at ELS’ ViewPoint community in Mesa.

• Those looking for something more traditional should ask the property manager if the community offers sports such as tennis, golf or softball.

Social Activities

While the benefits of an active lifestyle are commonly known, the benefits of strong social connections are also valuable. A study published in PLoS Medicine found that social support increases survival by about 50 percent and lack of social support equates to the mortality risk of smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

• When searching for a retirement community, look for a range of social activities that will help you stay engaged and that align with your interests.

• Look for ways the community brings residents together. For example, does it host community happy hours? Are there holiday parties and potlucks? How do they create opportunities for residents to interact?

• Think outside the box. Many of today’s retirement communities offer unique social activities such as woodworking, silversmithing and jewelry making, and outdoor group adventures.

Know Your Neighbors

• Good neighbors may be good for your health. A recent study published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health found that having good neighbors and feeling connected to others in the local community may help to curb your heart attack risk.

• Before moving in, talk with current community residents to get a feel for the “personality” of the community and how engaged its members are in offerings and activities.

By fully evaluating potential retirement communities, boomers can go a long way toward finding a community that supports an active and social lifestyle, both now and for years to come.

For more information on ELS’ active-adult communities, visit www.equitylifestyle.com.