Exercising is often one of the top 3 healthy habits that a senior can develop. Unfortunately, unless a person has been relatively active for most of their life, it can be hard to start getting active in their later years. The nice thing about physical activity for an aging adult is that it doesn’t need to be intense to have a positive effect.
Most assisted living communities make it as easy as possible for their residents to stay active because they understand its importance. For example, among the amenities offered at All American Assisted Living Communities, you’ll find gyms or transportation services if there is a specific activity the senior would like to do.
Top 5 Ways for Seniors to Stay Physically Active
There are many methods to stay active, but here are 5 of the top ways seniors can stay physically active throughout their golden years.
The easiest and probably most common way for seniors to stay active is walking. The CDC recommends that people 65 and over get at least 150 minutes a week of light activity such as walking or at least 75 minutes of more intense activity like hiking or jogging.
Getting a pet such as a small dog can be a massive encouragement for an aging adult to get outside and walk. Or getting together with a couple of friends in the community and going for morning walks is another possibility.
If someone lives in a senior community, they aren’t going to work out to get shredded or bulk up. However, working out at least twice a week is also recommended by the CDC. Light weight lifting or muscle-building exercises are great ways to stay active.
It’s important that a senior discusses weights or muscle-building with a professional to ensure they are doing it safely. And it’s also essential that they understand their limits to prevent injury.
It’s not for everyone, but dancing can be a great form of exercise for a senior. Not only does it provide a good cardio workout, but it also helps improve balance and coordination. Many communities offer dance lessons. But if they don’t, there is often transportation available so that they can take advantage of other local options.
Just like dancing, swimming is also a great form of cardio. In addition, being in the water also provides relief to sore joints, improves flexibility, and helps build muscle. The nice thing about many swimming pools is that they often have special times where certain areas are reserved for seniors to swim or take workout classes in the water.
One might not immediately associate gardening with physical activity. However, it’s an excellent activity for seniors. Not only does it get them outdoors in the fresh air, but it also stimulates the brain. In fact, there is evidence that suggests gardening helps with several things, such as having a general sense of well-being, lowering stress levels, and even helping with symptoms of dementia.
Importance of Physical Activity for Seniors
One of the biggest benefits of staying physically active as a senior is that it typically provides a better quality of life in the later years. When combined with a healthy diet, exercising can help minimize a senior’s chances of experiencing some age-related diseases or issues.
And even if the senior already has issues, staying active and eating healthy can minimize symptoms. For example, if a person suffers from arthritis, too much activity can cause extra pain. However, something like swimming or aquatic exercise can be extremely helpful in alleviating some of the symptoms.
One thing to keep in mind with physical activity is that some movement is always better than no movement. Even if all a person can manage is a short walk every day, that’s still better than nothing.
Encouraging a Senior to Stay Physically Active
As we mentioned, sometimes it’s not about staying physically active, but actually getting active in the first place if the person has never been one for getting outside.
Here are a few ways that you can encourage seniors to get or stay active:
- Make it fun: Find out what they enjoy and incorporate that into physical activity. For example, if they enjoy bird watching. Find somewhere they can walk that has a large bird population.
- Join in: If all you’re doing is telling them what they should do, that may turn them off from the activity. However, if you join and lead the activity, they may be more inclined to get active.
- Get proper equipment: Some exercise equipment is more suited for advanced workouts for very athletic people. Ensuring that the senior has appropriate equipment for their activity is important for encouraging them to continue using it and for doing so safely.
Finding Out More About Assisted Living
If you or your loved one has been considering assisted living but are unsure if it’s the right fit for an active lifestyle, then book a tour. The compassionate staff at All American Assisted Living in Warwick are happy to show you how they are dedicated to the comfort and health of all their residents.