Research indicates that an active lifestyle contributes to longevity. Here’s how you can stay active in senior living.
Staying active in senior living can become a way of life if you put a plan into action. Try a progressive approach, building on your physical successes one season at a time.
Spring: Begin with Balance
Proper balance is key to any successful exercise regimen whether your end goal is to walk around the block, walk the full 18 holes at the golf course, or walk/jog a 5K.
Try: Tai Chi
Why: The low-impact, flowing movements and poses strengthen leg muscles and improve balance. The graceful, self-paced martial art has also been shown to improve cognitive function due to the concentration required to perform a series of poses in a precise sequence.
Modify: Skip it. It’s perfectly fine to skip postures that may cause discomfort such as deep bending.
Summer: Focus on Flexibility
Want to play with the grandkids, work in the garden, or grab a box of kale chips from the top shelf at the grocery store? The key: flexibility. This essential wellness activity ensures you can remain active in senior living.
Why: Yoga is designed to stretch and loosen tight muscles. As your range of motion increases, you’ll begin to enjoy pain-free movement. Yoga also strengthens the core, which improves posture.
Modify: Chair Yoga
Autumn: Supercharge Strength
With better stability and flexibility, you can start to focus on strengthening muscles. Soon, you’ll be able to enjoy many other activities you haven’t attempted in a while (or ever).
Why: Referred to as the “world’s perfect exercise” for good reason. The low-impact movements of swimming are easy on the joints, work muscles all over the body, and increase cardiovascular health. Added bonus: as muscles build, bone mass increases, strengthening the bones.
Modify: Water Aerobics
Winter: Start Sweating
You’ve worked hard all year to be active in senior living. Now it’s time to take it to the streets (or the gym if the weather isn’t cooperating).
Try: Biking & Hiking
Why: Like swimming, cycling is low-impact and easier on the joints and bones (unlike the jarring motions that running requires). Together with hiking, you’ll begin to see major improvements in your cardio. Hiking gets you outdoors — which has health benefits galore — and forces you to use different muscle groups throughout the hike.
Modify: Stationary Biking & Treadmill Walking
To stay motivated, make your activities fun by asking a friend to join you. Or you can make new friends by participating in a group exercise class. And when you’re ready to kick it up a notch, you can join a group like Silver Sneakers where you’ll not only reap the benefits of physical activity, but you’ll surround yourself with like-minded, health-driven, long-living adults.