As people age, they sometimes grow less active, exercising far less than when they were younger. This may occur because they have aches and pains that limit movement, for example or because they feel socially isolated and lack friends to exercise with.
However, staying fit means seniors can continue with their daily activities and remain somewhat independent, noted a report from the National Institute of Health’s SeniorHealth program. Exercise helps seniors with balance, endurance, flexibility and strength and it is a good idea to be active most days of the week to safeguard health.
Whether it’s taking long walks in a nearby park or showing them how to do chair yoga, here are 10 creative ways to inspire seniors to stay active.
1. Volunteer to Walk Dogs for Friends Who Are Under the Weather
You and your senior likely know many pet owners. You can do a good deed while improving health by offering to take friends’ dogs for walks when their humans are sick or recovering from an operation or injury.
2. Play Video Games
Video games developed a reputation for keeping kids glued to the couch, gorging on junk food and escaping from reality. However, advances in video game technology such as the Nintendo Wii now let people simulate playing a real-world game such as bowling, golfing or tossing a flying disc to a dog.
3. Train for the National Senior Games
The National Senior Games Association is a member of the United States Olympics Committee and organizes annual competitions in both Virginia and Washington, D.C. Your senior can participate in team sports such as basketball or volleyball or individual sports like shuffleboard, tennis or softball.
4. Enjoy Long Strolls in the Park
Going for a walk gives your senior plenty of fresh air and sunshine. Try mixing up the route, such as going to a park one day, an arboretum the next and a path alongside a lake. When the weather is bad, you can walk in circuits inside at your local mall with other seniors.
5. Dance with Friends
From square dancing to ballroom and everything in between, going to dances is a great way to stay active while also engaging with people and making new friends. Enjoying a dance can motivate seniors to exercise more frequently so they can perform more dance moves.
6. Get Limber with Chair Yoga
Yoga provides a number of health benefits, such as reducing arthritis pain and improving circulation and breathing. For sedentary seniors who may not be up for a full yoga session just yet, begin with chair yoga. Sitting while doing forward bends or warrior poses prevents seniors from falling or overexerting themselves.
7. Hit the Gym or Local Senior Center
Sign up your senior at a nearby gym and consider becoming a member yourself so you can work out together. Alternatively, visit your local senior center, where you can expect to find water aerobics and swimming classes for less stress on joints and muscles.
Going to the gym is a great option during inclement weather. If your senior finds it boring to use gym equipment, he or she can watch videos or listen to an audiobook for distraction.
8. Use Stairs Whenever Possible
If your senior is strong enough to walk up or down a flight of stairs, avoid using elevators and escalators. Each step brings your senior closer to improved fitness and strength and can provide a minor increase in cardiovascular activity.
9. Park in the Far End of Parking Lots
Able-bodied people who don’t need to park in a handicapped space should try to walk as much as possible when out running errands. If you make a habit of parking far from stores, you can squeeze in more footsteps.
10. Carry a Pedometer to Track Progress
External motivation can do wonders for motivating seniors to stay active. Give your senior a pedometer that fits in a purse or pocket and use it to keep track of each day’s total footsteps.
Set a goal and work toward it incrementally, such as by adding 500 steps a day, working toward five miles every 24 hours. In a pinch, many smartphones have gyroscopes and position sensors so they can work as a pedometer as well and store the statistics.
At Georgetown Home Care, we know how important it is for seniors to stay active, building strength, balance, endurance and flexibility. The more fit they are, the more likely they can stay at home and remain independent. For more information on maintaining and improving senior health or details on our services in the greater National Capital Region, please contact Georgetown Home Care today.