Seniors tend to be less active in later life, both because of mobility issues and also a fear that they may fall and injure themselves. After all, a tumble in your 20s will result in little more than a few bruises and hurt pride, but a tumble in your 80s could lead to a broken hip and permanent bed rest!
Despite the risks, being more active is good for your health. You don’t need to run a marathon, although some people do. Some octogenarian runners even do ultramarathons!
Age isn’t a barrier to being active, but physical limitations are. Swimming is a great workout for older people, especially those who have physical limitations, whether it is because they have arthritis or something else. The human body floats rather well in the water because we have natural buoyancy. Swimming is a low-impact exercise, as water cushions the body, so it is perfect for people with painful joints.
You don’t even need to be able to swim – thanks to flotation devices, anyone can exercise in the water. There are even group exercise classes for seniors, which are a fun way to exercise in company. You can form social connections while boosting your heart health.
Walking is easy and low impact and something that can easily be incorporated into a daily routine. Try and make an effort to go for a walk at least once a day. Even if you walk slowly, it is doing your heart some good. Take a stroll around the local park or walk to the shops and back.
If you are not used to being active, build up your walks slowly. Take a walking stick to help with mobility and balance, or a walking frame if you need extra support. Once you feel fitter and more comfortable, why not join a local walking group for older people? Organized walks are a fun way to make new friends and enjoy some social interaction.
Plenty of older people enjoy yoga because it is relaxing. Yoga can be practiced alone or in a group class. You don’t need to know any of the poses; join a beginner’s class for older adults and learn as you go. The great thing about Yoga is that it stretches the joints and ligaments, which often tighten up as we age. Not only are you strengthening your heart, but you are also learning how to relax and meditate. Try practicing Yoga every day and in time, you will notice the difference.
Check whether your assisted living facility offers Yoga classes. A lot of senior living homes have classes and activities, with helpers on hand to provide assistance for seniors.
Dancing is fun and a great way to make new friends. Dance classes like salsa and ballroom dancing get you moving as well as improve balance and coordination. If you loved dancing as a younger person, there’s no need to hang up your dancing shoes just yet!
The more active you are, the healthier your heart will be. Try adding some physical exercise into your day and see how much difference it makes. You’ll be pleasantly surprised!