Tips for Keeping Seniors Active
It’s no secret that as we age, we slow down. Our bones and muscles become weaker, our energy levels drop, and we don’t recover from physical activity as quickly as we did before. For all these reasons, senior adults are generally less active than younger people.
At Advanced Nursing + Home Support, our goal is to provide elderly individuals and family members the support they need to thrive, and we know that staying active plays a huge role in health and happiness. Here, we’ll share the benefits of an active lifestyle, tips for how to keep seniors active, and activities for senior citizens.
Benefits of Being an Active Senior Citizen
Unfortunately, being inactive can have some serious consequences. Especially for seniors who live alone, it can lead to isolation and even depression. One of the keys to keeping senior citizens healthy, happy, and thriving is for them to maintain an active lifestyle.
Physical and mental benefits that active senior citizens enjoy:
- Increased mobility. The old saying “use it or lose it” rings true when it comes to your bones and muscles. If you don’t get up and move regularly, your muscles and bones will weaken and your coordination will worsen, making it much harder to move around as you wish and leaving you vulnerable to serious fall-induced injuries.
- Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Heart disease remains a top cause of death in the U.S. thanks to many factors, including lack of exercise and poor diets. According to the CDC, almost 11% of adults ages 45 and older suffer from heart disease. Being physically active rather than sedentary can help stave off your risk of cardiovascular issues.
- Improved immune system. Staying active improves your overall health, including your immune system. That means you will be better equipped to defend yourself against infections.
- Better mood and brain function. The cognitive benefits of staying active can’t be overstated. Having activities on the agenda helps you stay excited for the activity, focused when it’s happening, and satisfied once it’s over. Remaining idle, on the other hand, doesn’t stimulate your mind or body, and thus doesn’t boost your mood or memory like being active does.
How to Keep Seniors Active
It’s important to note that being “active” doesn’t necessarily mean being physically active—while physical exercise should definitely be a part of seniors’ weekly routines, any sort of engagement that gets a senior out of the house, whether it’s walking or gardening, counts as an activity.
Here are a few activities for senior citizens to try:
1. Encourage volunteering
Following retirement, many senior citizens feel they have lost their reason for getting up and out of the house every day. Short of getting a paying part-time job, volunteering is a great way for an older adult to have somewhere to go daily and make a difference in the community.
Food banks, schools, and pet rescue shelters are great places for seniors to explore volunteer opportunities. Many nonprofit organizations need skills older adults developed during their careers—such as legal knowledge, accounting, or tutoring—and are thrilled to have someone help fill the gaps in their offerings.
2. Join a club
Many libraries, churches, park districts, and senior citizen centers have free clubs and activities for seniors throughout the year. These activities include classes, book clubs, and trips, and can help seniors develop new relationships that can blossom outside the specific groups.
If you’re unsure whether your loved one’s community has similar resources, contact city hall, the local public library, or park district. These organizations can either give you the information you’re looking for or point you in the right direction.
3. Get physical
Keeping active as a senior citizen doesn’t have to mean sweating it out in the gym or running marathons, though some may be up to those challenges. It can be as simple as joining an aqua aerobics class a few times a week or going for a walk around the mall in bad weather.
Many gyms and exercise clubs offer senior citizen discounts on memberships, and they frequently offer senior-friendly classes during daytime hours. If there isn’t a gym nearby, or joining is out of reach because of COVID-19 restrictions or financial reasons, there are endless places to get a walk in—try an indoor or outdoor mall, greenway, or local school track.
4. Keep learning
Remaining active isn’t just about physical health. Keeping mentally sharp is just as much a component to overall health and well-being for seniors as is staying physically fit.
Community colleges, park districts, libraries, and senior centers often offer educational programs for seniors for free or low tuition. Many programs cover practical advice, such as teaching new technology or estate planning, while others seek to broaden horizons through writing groups, history classes, and lively debates.
Stay Active with Advanced Nursing + Home Support
At Advanced Nursing + Home Support, we’re committed to keeping seniors active and empowered in their everyday routines. We’re available to step in and help with whatever your loved one needs, whether it’s transportation to a physical therapy appointment or help sticking to an exercise routine.
If you have a loved one who needs skilled nursing care, companion care, or personal care in Maryland or the D.C. area, take the first step towards peace of mind and contact Advanced Nursing + Home Support today. We provide unparalleled service from experienced, compassionate skilled nursing care providers.
Contact us online or by phone at 240-414-4147 to request more information.