Taking care of your mental and physical health is important at any age. But it becomes even more important when you’re over 60. So, if you were never active in your prior years, you should start being active now. Being physically active can give you plenty of advantages. It can help boost your mood, make you stronger, prevent you from getting sick, and even make you live longer.
Exercise has been proven to lower the chances of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, cancer, and several mental illnesses. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a person should work out a total of 150 minutes per week. This seems challenging at first, but if you learn to plan your exercise routine and divide it in a way that works best for you, it is possible.
The CDC suggests that you do some physical activity for at least 30 minutes, five times a week. If that seems too troublesome, you could also go for one hour and 15-minute walk two times a week. But, anything as short as a 15-minute workout daily can already reduce your mortality by 4%. Most senior-living communities have exercise classes. If you have some in your area, you should join them. That said, here are some senior-friendly activities that you can do:
1. Water Sports
If you’ve got a pool in your area, swimming and other water activities are great for seniors as the water resistance helps build muscle. It’s also low-impact, meaning it doesn’t pressure your joints, making it great for those with arthritis.
There are different forms of yoga, each varying in levels of difficulty. Yin and hatha yoga is one of the easier forms of yoga that are more suitable for seniors. They are both slow-paced and low effort. They focus mainly on breathing and holding different poses for around 45 seconds to a minute. It’s like meditating while moving. It’s great for your flexibility, balance, strength, and mental health as well.
If you want something with more effort and you’re a little competitive, golf is a great sport for you and your friends to play. This doesn’t only work your body. Golf requires a lot of strategic planning and coordination, so you put in some brainpower too. You could even join gold competitions and tournaments if you’re up for it.
Physical activities don’t always have to seem like a chore. Dancing is a great physical activity as it allows you to have fun at the same time. Just put on some tunes and boogie as you used to. You could even invite some friends to do it with you!
5. Tai Chi
Much like yoga, tai chi is also a very low-effort and low-impact activity that’s great for both your mind and body. It’s an old Chinese martial art that teaches you self-defense, improves your balance, and helps you to control your body and your breathing.
If you like to take care of plants, gardening can also be considered a physical activity as long as you’re out and about and moving around for at least 15 to 30 minutes a day.
If you like to explore and go to farther places, cycling can be a great activity. If your balance isn’t as good as it was and you’re concerned for your safety, there are three-wheeled bicycles available for seniors.
8. Running or Walking
Running, jogging, or simply walking is one of the most common forms of exercise there is. As mentioned before, walking or jogging for at least one hour and 15 minutes twice a week is enough to keep you in good shape. You could even walk around while holding light weights. Even an added pound or two can help.
9. Resistance or Strength Training
Strength training over 60 is especially important. It’s natural for humans to lose muscle mass over time, especially when all they do is sit around or lay in bed all day, which is why strength training is so important. Losing muscle mass can negatively affect your mobility in the future and makes the risk of falling much higher. This doesn’t mean that you must lift over 100lbs. Using light resistance bands or weights that are around 1 lb to 5 lbs is enough.
10. Daily Physical Activity
Normal physical activity that you do daily, such as cleaning, organizing your things, going to the groceries, is great. Anything that will get you on your feet is enough if you do it for long periods.
Just remember, before you decide to perform any form of exercise that you inform your doctor first. This is particularly important, especially if you’ve experienced any prior injuries or have certain conditions that might get worse. Aside from physical activity, maintaining a healthy diet is also important. If you want to live longer, making your health a priority is the only way to do so.