But keeping yourself fit and healthy is crucial towards living out your golden years in happy conditions. You don’t want to spend your 60s, 70s, and 80s unable to leave the house and enjoy yourself, especially if you don’t have any major complications besides your physical healthy holding you back.
The Trick Is To Adapt
The problem that many seniors ultimately fail to overcome is the realization that the exercises and routines they have been familiar with all their life are now things that are practically impossible for their bodies. Running or jogging, sports, and lifting weights are unbearable for some seniors, and they might feel that all forms of exercise are off the table.
But the trick to staying healthy as a senior is to adapt—adapt to your body, and adopt exercises and routines that work for you. Here are 5 ways you can successful stay healthy and fit as a senior:
1) Swimming and other Pool Activities
For everyone over the age of 50 wanting to stay fit, the pool is your best friend. Swimming is low impact, meaning it isn’t bad for your joints like most sports and running. You can burn off the calories and keep your muscles intact without worrying about hurting your joints and bones. Try to go to your local YMCA or public pool at least three times a week.
But if swimming starts to bore you, there are other activities you can do in the pool to stay fit. Aqua Aerobics is a great option, using your body weight coupled with the natural water resistance to build and maintain your strength. Taking this with a friend is the best way to do it. Looking for something a bit more… intense? Give water polo a shot—fast, fun, and great for your body.
2) Tai Chi
Need something less intense to start with? Tai Chi is the perfect option for seniors who don’t want to get out of their comfort zone but still want a chance to exercise. This ancient Chinese martial art is all about slow and rhythmic movements. Its low-impact, careful, and steady movements make it easy on the joints and easy to do in your own living room with an instructional video, or with a class as a group activity.
Tai Chi has been endorsed by the National Association of Orthopedic Nurses, as it has been proven to help seniors regain hand eye coordination and balance. It is also a great way to find new friends and relationships, since tai chi is usually best performed as a group.
Running or jogging can be exhausting for your knees and ankles as you age, but there’s no reason why you can’t put on your sneakers and still go around the block. Going out for a run doesn’t necessarily mean you have to run a marathon at an unreasonable pace. It can be as simple as just putting on. Your shoes and powerwalking around the neighborhood.
Bring along a friend or listen to some good music while you spend an hour three or four times a week powerwalking or brisk walking around your neighborhood. It’s a great excuse to go out and actually interact with your environment. Who knows, you might discover more than just burned calories on your walks.
Like Tai Chi, yoga is a great option for those looking for a less intense but still physically demanding activity. You might have noticed over the last few years that you’ve lost mobility and flexibility; maybe you can’t pick things up from the floor without getting on your knees, or maybe you find yourself sore for a week whenever you are asked to get out of the house.
Here’s the reality: your body is just less flexible, and you can’t get by not taking care of that flexibility like before without experiencing the consequences. Yoga helps you reclaim your body, so that you can once again perform your basic movements without feeling punished every time try. And don’t be worried about being a beginner; there are plenty of beginner classes that only practice easy and gentle movements, before you are ready for bigger things.
Fun, sweaty, and social. Who can say no to a good dance? Dance is great cardio that keeps your heart strong, while burning calories and forcing you to do movements that you wouldn’t normally do in your regular routine. Not only does it help your energy, blood pressure, and heart, it’s also great for your memory and mood.
If you are a first timer in the dance world, you can try out ballroom, tap, jazz, low-impact aerobics, and salsa. It’s always recommended to dance with a class and a trainer as opposed to teaching yourself alone with a video from YouTube, which might lead to you hurting yourself.