Staying healthy and fit is a priority for most people – seniors are no exception. Remaining healthy not only involves a consistent physical routine to keep your body mobile, it also includes having a good mindset. Here are a few simple and easy 10 ways to keep healthy mind and body as a senior.
Staying fit and sharp-minded is definitely easier said than done, but it is definitely possible! With the help of a good support system and reliable resources at your fingertips, it’s very possible to maintain a healthy mind and body as a senior. Also please see Top Reasons Why Good Health Is Important
10 Ways To Keep Healthy Mind And Body As A Senior
Here are a few tips and tricks on how to do so:
Meditation is a great way to clear your mind of stressful thoughts and tune into your inner self. Learning to stay calm and relaxed goes a long way toward better sleep and a positive frame of mind. Stress can aggravate other common conditions such as hypertension and asthma; anything you can do to lower your stress level is a positive thing.
Also, one of the best things about taking up meditation is that it can be done anywhere. No matter where you are when you’re feeling stressed, there’s likely a quiet place nearby where you can meditate for a few moments.
2. Light Weights
Weight training is an excellent way to reduce the risk of injury in your routine day-to-day activities. Professionals recommend seniors to get involved in weight training slowly using resistance or light weights. Seniors should aim for exercising all major muscle groups at least 30 minutes twice a week and avoid targeting the same muscle group on consecutive days.
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There is no question that weight training can feel intimidating. If you have never used weights, it is a good idea to consult with a personal trainer or friend that can show you how to properly train. Using proper weight training form will help you prevent injury and gain strength.
A consistent routine is the key to getting your physical and mental state where you want it to be in retirement. Many seniors prefer early morning routines when it comes to making fitness a regular part of their day. Remember not to overdo it and listen to your body if the routine is starting to cause pain or muscle fatigue.
A simple 30-minute walk every day can do wonders for the body and mind.
4. Book Clubs
Looking for something to keep your mind sharp and maintain social connections all at the same time? Book clubs and reading groups are perfect for mind stimulation, especially when you have a group of friends participating in lively discussion. Many professionals recommend regular reading for maintaining cognitive function as you age.
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A great way to find a book club that has members with similar interests is to do a quick Google search. There are book clubs that meet in-person, but you can now also join virtual book clubs. A virtual book club is a fun way to connect with people in different states or even countries and bond over a mutual appreciation of reading.
Stretching is extremely important for keeping your muscles and joints comfortably mobile. Flexibility plays a major role in seniors’ overall mobility. In order to keep your muscles from tensing up and tearing as you work out, stretching every day before and after a workout is highly recommended.
NIHSeniorHealth encourages seniors to incorporate at least 12 exercises into their routine that are strictly focused on flexibility to enhance their freedom of movement.
6. Games and Puzzles
Keep your brain sharp with the help of word search or crossword puzzles. These aren’t your only options, however. Board games such as chess and Scrabble, as well as card games such as bridge and pinochle also get you focused on planning and strategy. Invite a group of friends over for a game day to include a social component.
If you have not been much of a puzzle or game person to this point, you might find that learning a new skill will open an entirely new hobby for you.Many people also find games and puzzles to be an excellent source of stress-relief as your mind is focused on the task at hand.
7. Water Aerobics
This particular type of exercise is great for resistance training without stressing your bones, joints and muscles. Water aerobics is an incredible way to get your heart rate up without the heat and excessive sweating that comes from other kinds of cardio.
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There is a reason why this is a popular workout for seniors and highly encouraged by fitness professionals. It’s extremely senior-friendly and gets you into a like-minded group for added social benefits.
Yoga is increasingly becoming more popular with seniors. Yoga is useful in the management of arthritis pain as well as the reduction of anxiety levels. A lot of senior centers, health clubs, assisted living centers and even churches now offer senior-friendly yoga classes and other limited mobility fitness classes.
Not a fan of going to an organized class? You can find great online videos on YouTube or yoga blogs. Find a quiet space with access to a computer or TV and make your own yoga studio!
9. Gardening and Yard Work
According to the CDC, many seniors consider gardening and other forms of yard work their main way to stay fit. Yard work exercises and stimulates almost every muscle in the body because you are lifting, walking, stretching, pulling.
Many seniors take up yard work because it is a great physical activity and hobby—and who doesn’t love a nice yard and gorgeous garden?
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10. Other Workouts for Consideration
Looking for another exercise to tone your lower body? The sit-to-stand exercise gives squats a whole new meaning. Simply stand in front of a chair with feet shoulder-width apart.
Then begin to slowly squat as if you are going to actually sit in the chair all while holding your arms straight out in front of your shoulders, palms facing down. Work up to ten reps to achieve better results.
Keeping your arms tight and toned doesn’t necessarily mean doing a bunch of traditional floor push ups. The alternative to the traditional floor push up is the wall push up. Instead of doing push ups lying on the floor, you use the same form standing up and pushing off a wall.
Stand arms-length from the wall, keeping your arms shoulder-width apart, and perform push-ups like you normally would without moving your feet on the ground.
March in Place
Marching in place is great for balance. If you need to stand near a wall or chair at first, you can. However, the point of this exercise is to challenge your body to support itself as you march.
Simply lift one knee up while balancing on the other leg and continue to alternate the same movement for each leg.
Single Foot Stand
In order to reduce the risk of falling, easy strength training exercises on a regular basis is a good way to maintain balance. The single foot stand is a great way to get started. Stand near a chair or wall to steady yourself if you happen to lose your balance. Bend one knee lifting the lower leg behind you and grab your foot or ankle with your hand.
The goal here is to balance in this position on each leg for a minute.
Ease into It
It’s unrealistic to expect results to happen overnight. There is no problem if you slowly work toward your fitness goals. In fact, for seniors, it’s encouraged. Diving into a new routine headfirst at full speed can get you hurt. To avoid costly medical bills later, ease into any new physical routine.
By setting small goals each day, you can work your way in to a long-term fitness routine. If you begin with just 15 minutes of exercise per day, you will be able to build a foundation to slowly increase your fitness habits.
Maintaining good mental and physical health is something all seniors should prioritize. If you or a loved one needs more recommendations for senior-friendly exercises and mental challenges, visit your nearest gym or even contact a professional coach.
Author: Danielle Kunkle
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