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Everyone’s heard it from a young age: “It’s important to stay active.” That statement becomes more true every day as people grow older. In your senior years, it may seem harder to stay as active as you once were, but there are so many ways that you can keep your body moving without quickly wearing yourself out — and the benefits of doing just that are invaluable, for your body, your mind, and your spirit.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), older adults who regularly exercise see improved results in controlling arthritis, maintaining healthy bones, increased stamina and muscle strength. These factors all combine to help prevent falls, which can lead to serious injuries. Staying active can also lower the risk of heart disease, colon cancer and type 2 diabetes. As for cognitive benefits — a National Institute on Aging (NIA) study concluded that even moderate aerobic exercise could improve spatial memory.
It’s never too late to improve your heart health, strength, balance, and mobility through easy, regular exercise. Active senior living communities understand these health and wellness benefits, which is why there is such a focus on senior living activities and life enrichment programs, as well as a specialized approach for those in assisted living. However, staying active is easy to do wherever you live. To help you get started, follow the ten tips provided here.
- Strength Training
Use and build your muscles through repetitive motions with weights, resistance bands, and exercise machines, or even just walls, the floor and furniture. Low-impact, bodyweight exercises like sit-ups and leg raises are convenient options that do not require any specialized equipment. This type of training helps prevent bone density loss while also improving balance.
As little as 30 minutes of aerobic or cardiorespiratory exercise each day can go a long way. This includes activities such as walking, jogging, and stationary bike riding. Cardio exercise increases the body’s ability to deliver oxygen and nutrients. Don’t get discouraged if you tire easily. Try breaking the 30 minutes up into three 10-minute periods throughout the day.
It’s important to keep your body limber and flexible to prevent injuries as you age. For that, stretching is key. In addition to being a vital part of your activity routine, stretching activities like Yoga and Pilates can also provide an opportunity for quiet calm as you meditate through each motion and focus on how your body and mind are feeling in the moment.
Research shows that taking at least 4,400 steps per day can lead to a longer, healthier life — and there’s no better or more enjoyable way to get those steps in than by dancing. This simple exercise is easy enough to do at any time of day, with great benefits for your bones (and your mood!)
Whether your thumb is green or not, getting outside and working in the garden is a wonderful weight-bearing form of exercise that can be enjoyed at any age. Not only does it provide physical benefits to the body, but the joy brought on by watching your work bloom is a great boost for mental health and self esteem.
For those with limited mobility, or who prefer not running or walking because of joint pain, swimming is an ideal option. It gently works the entire body while increasing your heart rate to prevent cardiovascular problems, and also improving both your muscle strength and tone.
Getting more involved in your local community, whether that’s on an active senior living campus or not, helps you discover new things and meet new people. When you engage in activities that are both enjoyable and meaningful, you’ll feel a greater sense of pride and purpose, which can motivate you to become even more active. Consider volunteering at nearby libraries, schools, churches or community centers.
Activities that spark your interest and engage your mind can be just as beneficial as those that keep your body moving. Whether it’s fishing, cooking, painting, or scrapbooking, there are endless ways to enjoy all the time you have in retirement.
Some days, you simply don’t feel like being physically active. That’s perfectly fine because there are plenty of other ways to keep your mind moving. Memory games and puzzles are easy opportunities to keep your brain fit so you can stay as sharp and witty as ever. Try your hand at crossword puzzles, video games, or leisure sports like ping pong and bowling.
There are few things that are more enjoyable than curling up with a good book. Not only will you find yourself immersed inside the world of the story, or fascinated by the facts that fill the pages, you’ll be actively keeping your mind in tip-top condition so you can stay alert and more conscious of all the wonderful opportunities that are waiting in the world around you.
At a place like eliseo, activities like the ones listed here are available every day to help you stay healthy so you can continue to live the life you love. If you’ve wondered, “Are there senior living options near me?” the answer is closer than you think. Picture yourself in a Life Plan Community, sharing time with friends, pursuing your passions, and enjoying a secure plan for your future. To learn more about life at eliseo, start a conversation by contacting us online or calling 253-319-3947.