Physical Activities for Seniors

Regular physical activity as you age offers numerous significant health benefits. It enables you to maintain independence for longer and enhances your well-being and enjoyment of daily activities.

According to the CDC, adults aged 65 and older need:

  • At least 150 minutes a week (for example, 30 minutes a day, five days a week) of moderate-intensity activity such as brisk walking. Or they need 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity activity such as hiking, jogging, or running.
  • At least two days a week of activities that strengthen muscles.
  • Another example for improving balance is practicing the single limb stance, or standing on one leg.

An optimal exercise routine should incorporate a mix of aerobic exercise, balance and flexibility exercises, and muscle and bone strengthening activities. Here are some examples of physical activities you can easily do to remain active.

Dancing

Dancing is a delightful way to engage in exercise without even realizing it. It provides excellent cardiovascular benefits and fulfills aerobic activities. Dancing also enhances balance and coordination, which are crucial in aiding fall prevention.

The social aspect of dancing is an added bonus, and numerous classes that don't require a dance partner are available. For example, Zumba is a fitness class inspired by salsa dancing that is suitable for all ages.

Swimming

Swimming is a refreshing activity, particularly on hot days, and it is gentle on the joints, making it ideal for older individuals. Whether you are swimming laps or participating in water aerobics, the low-impact nature of water exercises is beneficial. You can also engage in underwater kicks while sitting on the edge of pool stairs or simply walk back and forth in the water.

Swimming can easily become an enjoyable and healthy habit for older adults. For a combination of fun and benefits from both swimming and dancing, consider trying Aqua Zumba.

Low-Impact Sports

Participating in sports, whether individually or as part of a club, group, or team, is a terrific way to provide a consistent spark of motivation to stay moving. Some great low-impact sports include:

  • Bowling helps build upper body strength and endurance, making it an excellent exercise. You can play a game by yourself or join a bowling league!
  • Pickleball combines the elements of tennis, ping pong, and badminton for a fun sport that’s an all-ages team sport. Traditional net-and-ball games like tennis or badminton can sometimes be too dangerous to
  • Bean bag baseball improves hand-eye coordination and fosters a sense of belonging and camaraderie.
  • Croquet improves hand-eye coordination, flexibility, and a slight amount of balance. While it’s not a hugely intense workout, it does require problem-solving.
  • Bocce ball is a popular choice in senior living communities because it is a low-impact exercise game, yet provides seniors with a mental challenge as they learn strategies to improve their sport.

Yoga and Tai Chi

Yoga and Tai Chi classes offer low-impact exercises with incredible benefits. These practices promote flexibility, balance, coordination, stress reduction, and increased strength, all of which help reduce the risk of falls.

The beauty of yoga and Tai Chi is that they can be modified to suit your fitness level. For instance, participants can adapt stretches based on their ability, with some practicing in chairs. In fact, there are specialized yoga classes for seniors conducted entirely in seated positions.

Mall Walks

Taking a leisurely stroll through a mall while indulging in window shopping can be an enjoyable activity for older people. The comfort of air conditioning and protection from the elements make mall walking an appealing option for seniors. Some malls even open their doors early to accommodate active older individuals interested in this activity.

Chair Workouts

Many senior fitness classes offer seated workout options. Numerous exercises can be performed while seated and using your own body weight, providing all the benefits with reduced impact.

Chair workouts are particularly beneficial for safely incorporating strength training into a daily routine. Seated shoulder presses, bicep curls, and torso twists are excellent exercises for improving upper body strength. Lower body movements can also be done from a chair, including transitioning from seated to standing positions, seated calf raises, resistance band exercises, or seated hip marches.

Home Workouts

Plenty of exercise videos are available on platforms like YouTube that you can follow along with at home. Additionally, consider using a Nintendo Wii for video game-style exercises or going for a walk when the weather permits. Before starting any home workout, ensure the area is free from potential fall hazards.

If you choose to exercise outdoors, it's essential to be mindful of weather-related risks, whether it's during winter or summer. Always check the weather forecast before going outside and dress appropriately.

Additional Tips

Before starting a new fitness program, it's crucial to consult with your doctor to ensure it is safe for you. Whenever possible, attend fitness classes instead of relying solely on home workouts. With a fitness professional's guidance, you'll benefit from their expertise, enjoy the social component, and have immediate assistance if needed.

Your fitness instructor can review your health conditions and past injuries, recommending necessary exercise modifications.

Looking for an Active Lifestyle? Contact St. Andrew’s

For older adults who are energized by an engaged lifestyle, St. Andrew’s offers many one-of-a-kind rental communities built for fun and friendships.

Like an old-time neighborhood enhanced with modern conveniences, living here is delightfully comfortable and convenient. You’ll love our pocket neighborhood lifestyle, where activity abounds and residents spend time on and off the court with their neighbors.

Whatever puts a smile on your face, you can do it here! From our services and amenities to fitness, learning, and social fun, contact us now to see what we can do for you.

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