Maintaining a healthy lifestyle requires several components, including daily, low impact exercise. It has been well documented that physical daily activities are a proven way to increase senior health, reduce the risk of certain injuries and senior health conditions. As we age, however, sustaining a continuous exercise routine can be a challenge. We may feel discouraged by illness, ongoing health problems, or concerns about injuries or falls. Exercise provides not only physical benefits, but also decreases anxiety and increases seniors’ life engagement. Daily exercise should focus on strength, endurance, stretching and balance: key areas for sustaining bodily health and functionality.
Here are 5 creative twists on everyday exercises:
1. Seated Exercise– Simple calisthenics can be beneficial and fun. For example, bicep curls, triceps extensions and chair stands help to improve one’s endurance and strength. Try involving the whole family in these exercises. Younger children can lead the exercise while seniors work on keeping their muscles active and responsive. As an alternative, group seated-dance classes engage and entertain seniors. For a more individualized experience, try logging the amount of repetitions of each exercise you perform. Logging the repetitions acts as a confidence and endurance boost, and provides the added benefit of tracking of how each muscle reacts to the stimulation.
2. Get Outside-Walking is an empowering and beneficial daily activity. Changing scenery can be a critical and important part of one’s day if he or she has a mobility limitation. Walking in a slow and meaningful way stimulates blood flow and muscle strength. Taking some deep breaths of fresh air reduces stress and anxiety. Stop and smell the roses. A short walk several times per week helps with strength and stability.
3. Refine Motor Skill Activities– Incorporating basic skills into your daily routines is a great way to “trick” yourself into physical activities. Tying shoes, knitting and cooking are easy ways to work on small, precise and coordinated movements while simultaneously increasing neurological relationships with aging muscles. To learn more about improving Fine Motor Skills, click here.
4. Yoga– A slow and focused form of exercise, Yoga helps to improve the physical needs of stretching and balance, in conjunction with the mental need of improved relaxation. Balance exercises like Yoga can help you to remain independent by avoiding the potential disabilities that result from falling.
5. Brain Exercise– Your brain is a muscle, requiring stimulation to maintain its clarity and focus. In order to do this, try playing memory games or performing a crossword puzzle. Many activity books and apps on the market aim to create a unique and thoughtful approach to retaining brain function. Remember to concentrate on the process of an activity and not just the results. Don’t be too hard on yourself when in the midst of a challenge. Click here for a list of mental games for seniors.
Developing a daily or three-times weekly routine may relieve stress and improve your overall sense of well being. Following such a routine will be an important component of staying healthy, strong, energetic and positive, as you age.