For seniors, getting up and moving every morning isn’t as simple as it might seem. While young people and middle-aged adults might find it easy to make going to the gym or signing up for a yoga class a part of everyday life, when you’re a senior, your mobility and your choices are limited. Whether you live at home and use a senior care service to get around or live in an assisted living community, it can be difficult to set aside the time for exercise and stretching. Still, getting enough exercise each day is a crucial part of healthy aging. No matter what kind of chronic pain, joint issues, or illness you’re dealing with, there’s no reason it should stand in the way of your getting regular exercise. If you’re a senior who’s struggling to find ways to get outside and stay active, here are a few things you can do from home that will promote a healthier, more balanced lifestyle through the years.
1. Morning Stretches
No matter where you are or what your mobility level is, you can always start out your day with a few simple stretches in place. Not only is it a great way to get ready for the day, it will help seniors limber up their joints and fight any soreness or stiffness that might have flared up overnight. A morning stretch routine can be as simple as a few poses standing in place, such as tree pose, a simple lower back stretch like child’s pose, or even a few hand stretches to get warmed up. If a senior lives in an assisted living community, there are often aqua aerobics classes on offer that allow seniors to practice stretches in the pool for increased mobility. Starting out the day with a few low-impact stretches will help ease seniors into the day’s activities and keep their joints from swelling up too much or getting stiff during the day.
2. Sign Up for a Community Class
If you’re a senior who lives on their own, chances are there’s a local gym nearby or even a YMCA that offers classes specifically tailored to senior needs. Whether you sign up for a senior yoga class, a swimming class or even something more high-energy like Zumba, you can stay connected to the community, meet new friends, and get in your daily exercise simply by taking advantage of the free or low-cost services your local gym provides. If you live in an area with great public transportation, you can easily find a route to your nearest YMCA. If not, try asking for a friend or family member to drive you a few times a week. You could even go with a friend and take turns driving to make things easier.
3. Take a Walk Around the Block
Even if you live in a rural area where there isn’t a gym or pool in sight, you can always take advantage of a long, brisk walk around the block. Walking isn’t just a great way to get your exercise in as an older adult. It can help your heart health and your mental health as well, all while providing a great head-clearing routine for the middle of the day. Pick a spot with beautiful scenery, or choose a destination to walk to each day.
4. Eat Right
Overall health doesn’t just have to do with exercise. In order to round out your health, you have to commit to a balanced diet as well as a daily way of spiking your heart rate and stretching out your joints. Thankfully, eating healthy without spending a ton of money or driving to the supermarket every week has been made easier than ever by the existence of services like meals on wheels, shopping services like Instacart, and delivery kits like Blue Apron or Plated. Even if you have a specific diet to stick to, you can easily find a service that will deliver healthy, balanced meals right to your door daily or weekly.
5. Stay Social
Physical health is only part of the whole picture. In order to stay truly healthy, you’ll want to take care of your mental health by staying social and keeping in touch with friends, family, and the local community. You can spend some time at the local library, go to free readings and events at bookstores, or find support groups for specific concerns. As long as you devote some time to social activity, you’ll be doing your best to stay healthy in body and mind.