Exercise plays an important role in both physical and mental health, no matter your age. Engaging in frequent exercise helps to maintain healthy body weight, increase energy levels, promote better sleep, and even improve your mood. Studies show that individuals who work out at least four times a week are happier than those who don’t.
However, as you age, you may notice that your body isn’t capable of withstanding physical activity like it used to. Luckily this doesn’t mean you have to stop exercising entirely. Rather it’s time you alter your physical activity so that it’s not as straining.
Whether you’re trying to find activities for yourself or a loved one, knowing what activities to look for that aren’t as strenuous to your body can be stressful. Luckily there are numerous tasks you can do to get your body moving without the pain. Throughout the rest of this article, you will find 10 different ways senior citizens can get exercise.
1. Low-Impact Sports
Whether you’re playing in the game or watching from the sidelines, engaging in sports is enjoyable for everyone in the family. If you’re eager to play sports yourself but have limitations to consider, then you should try participating in:
Be sure to bring the proper equipment for each sport and a water bottle to ensure you stay hydrated while playing. Also, try playing in shorter periods with multiple breaks to help prevent overexertion and fatigue.
2. Performance Arts
Performance art is a type of art that involves physical movement, typically by the artist and other performers. Like every other type of art, performance arts can contain anything you like.
Having freedom with the canvas — in this case, the stage — allows participants to engage in a beautiful flow of movement at their own pace, telling their own story. Except for this time, artists are using their bodies, rather than paper and a pen.
Examples of performance arts include:
Even spoken word and musical performances can include physical activity if you get creative enough.
3. Themed Parties
Themed parties are a great way to get your body moving and have fun at the same time. Planning themed parties that involve physical activity will help you get your steps in without the feeling of having to exercise.
A few examples of party themes that involve physical participation include:
Decades dance party;
Minute to Win It;
Murder mystery dinner;
After all, parties are a great excuse to get your loved ones together to create memories. So why not sneak in some exercise at the same time?
4. Connection With the Outdoors
It’s no secret that spending time outdoors has a multitude of benefits. It can give you a breath of fresh air, boost your serotonin, and even reduce stress. An advantage of making plans outdoors is that you’re in complete control of how much physical activity you engage in.
Here are a few creative activities you can do outdoors that don’t require a lot of physicalities:
Short nature walks.
Similar to participating in sports, some outdoor activities require you to obtain equipment ahead of time. For example, for birdwatching, you’ll need a good set of binoculars and a guide on the different types of birds, while an industrial metal detector like the Schonstedt would be best for those who enjoy searching for buried treasures.
5. Volunteer Work
Volunteering your time can be just as valuable as donating money. Nonprofit organizations tend to rely on volunteers to help with daily operations. Volunteering is a win-win situation — you're able to get in minor exercise, while simultaneously giving back to your community.
Working at an animal shelter, assisting with a neighborhood cleanup, or helping at your local homeless shelter or food kitchen are all great ways to volunteer your time. When looking for volunteering opportunities, you’ll want to be sure to sign up for ones that encourage you to move your body — remember, the idea is to implement more movement into your daily routine.
6. Attending Public Events
Depending on your ability to stand for long periods, attending events like festivals and concerts is a fun way to move your body. Even attending farmer’s markets, your grandchild or loved one’s recitals and performances, or karaoke can provide you with a unique opportunity to sneak in some exercise.
Check for event times and what to expect before attending to ensure it is something your body can endure.
7. Caring for Children
Caring for children at any stage in your life can bring a great deal of enjoyment, surprise, family bonding, socialization, and exercise. If you need physical activity but aren’t able to do any of the tasks we’ve already mentioned, then spending time with children is a great alternative.
Most older adults have grandchildren of their own to keep them busy. However, not everyone does, and that’s okay. Those of you who don’t have grandchildren or children around at all can look into volunteering your time at a school or daycare.
If you choose to volunteer, make sure you choose opportunities that encourage physical activity like performance arts or dance class.
8. Meditative Exercises
According to the Mayo Clinic, meditation is the process through which “you focus on being intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment.” Meditative exercises are exercises that allow you to focus on your thoughts and inner body, while also focusing on moving your physical body.
Aside from increasing your physical activity, benefits of meditative exercise include:
Yoga, tai chi, and beginner’s pilates are just a few examples of meditative exercises ideal for seniors.
9. Gardening and Landscaping
Some aspects of landscaping can be more strenuous than others — installing sod, uprooting trees, and pouring concrete for paths. But not every part of having a green thumb requires intense labor. Planting and tending to a garden, raking, and painting pots are family-fun tasks everyone can enjoy.
You can even participate in the more major landscaping projects by using a metal detector for sweeping your yard to locate objects that may get in the way. This includes lawn decor, hoses, indoor items, sticks, and even metal fragments. You’ll want to be as thorough as possible when prepping your lawn for a major remodel.
Using industrial models like the Goldak or Copperhead Industries brands can help you find property pins and other objects that are hard to identify with the naked eye.
10. Virtual Exercise
As technology continues to be a part of our daily lives, we continue to find ways to make the most of it. This includes using technology to exercise from the comfort of your own home. A few ways to participate in virtual exercise include:
Regardless of whether you go outside, sign up for yoga, or dance it out — implementing exercise into your daily routine as a senior citizen is just as important as when you were younger. Whatever you choose to do, remember your body’s limits and have fun.