10 Ways To Keep Seniors Active


As people age, they often grow less active–exercising far less than when they were younger. This can happen from years of working long hours at a job, from body aches, pains, and stiffness accumulated over time, from major injuries or health conditions, and from myriad other reasons. 

But when seniors are able to find a way to stay fit and healthy, it means they can continue with their daily activities and maintain some independence. 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 (NIA).

From activities that require very little to more ambitious goals, here are 10 activities that will help keep your senior family member or friend healthy and mobile: 

1. Volunteer to Walk Dogs for Friends Who Are Under the Weather

You and your senior loved one likely know many pet owners. You can do a good deed while improving health by offering to take friends’ dogs for walks when their owners are sick or recovering from an operation or injury. Just 30 minutes of being physically active can do a lot of good (CDC).

2. Play Video Games

Video games developed a reputation for keeping kids glued to the couch, gorging on junk food, and escaping reality. However, advances in video game technology such as the Nintendo Wii now let you simulate playing a real-world game such as bowling, golfing, or tossing a flying disc to a dog. When played together, this can also be an excellent socialization activity to do with family members or other older adults.

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 Virginia and Washington, D.C. Your senior can participate in team sports such as basketball, volleyball, or softball, or individual sports like shuffleboard or tennis.

4. Enjoy Long Strolls in the Park

Going for a walk lets your senior spend time getting plenty of fresh air and sunshine. Try mixing up the route, such as going to a park, an arboretum, and a local nature trail on rotating days. When the weather is bad, you can walk in circuits inside your local mall with other seniors. Spending time in nature can be good for both a senior’s mental health and physical health.

5. Dance with Friends

From square dancing, to ballroom, and everything in between, going to dances is a great way to maintain an active lifestyle 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 several 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, 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 your senior loved one up at a nearby gym and consider becoming a member yourself to 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

Non-disabled senior citizens who don’t need to park in a handicapped space should try to walk as much as possible when 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 track 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. If your senior is in a pinch, many smartphones have gyroscopes and position sensors to work as a pedometer and store the statistics.

Get Support From Local Professionals

At Georgetown Home Care, we know how crucial it is for seniors to stay active while building strength, balance, endurance, and flexibility. The more fit they are, the more likely they can stay at home and remain independent. That’s why we offer a range of customizable services, from companionship care to comprehensive in-home care

For more information on maintaining and improving health and fitness for seniors in the greater National Capital Region, contact Georgetown Home Care today.