Five options seniors can do to stay physically active this summer
If you're a grandma who gets pumped up from playing with the little ones as they zoom around the house, you may yearn for a way to boost your energy, which, understandably, may fade after hours of boisterous fun. While no elixir will turn you into an unstoppable 5-year-old, you can increase your energy―as well as your mood and overall health―by changing your lifestyle to include more exercise.
Although incorporating activity into your routine is a seemingly easy energy-booster, you might be concerned you won't have the follow-through to make it. Take heart: with a little footwork, you can uncover many easy-to-access fitness-related programs, classes and groups that are great for all fitness levels to boost your motivation and keep you on track.
Get in shape while you’re soaking up some vitamin D
If you’re an urban dweller who loves the outdoors, there are lots of social ways to get in shape and explore the city. You can join a walking club or go on a walking tour of nearby neighborhoods. If traipsing through wooded trails is more your style, consider signing up with a nature club, especially one geared to seniors.
Or if digging in the dirt is how you like to connect with nature, investigate community gardening, which lets you grow veggies in the company of others.
Break a sweat—regardless of the weather
Your exercise toolkit should also contain some indoor options to ensure you’ll get moving even when the wind is howling or rain is falling from the sky. Checking out your local YMCA is a great way to start. Equipped with running tracks, pools and workout rooms, YMCAs offer older adults a range of options, from water activities to senior camping.
Community rec centers are another good choice. They almost always include a pool where you can participate in water aerobics, swim laps or simply splash around. On top of this, rec centers usually feature classes geared to seniors, like Pilates, low-impact aerobics or line dancing.
You can also discover a variety of low-cost, senior-friendly classes, like Nordic pole walking or bone fitness, through a local board of education. Not to mention local senior centers―they typically offer a range of health, wellness and fitness options, including Tai Chi, aerobics and light weight training classes. For even more class options, churches, libraries and health centers occasionally offer fitness classes for older adults.
If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to choosing a fitness class, keep an eye out for posters at public libraries, community centers, health food stores and your doctor’s office. Don’t forget to check the event sections of local newspapers and news sites as well.
Find the fitness program that fits your lifestyle
Many fitness facilities participate in national programs like EnhanceFitness, a low-cost group exercise program for seniors, or the Silver&Fit Exercise and Healthy Aging Program, available to eligible Medicare Advantage/Supplement beneficiaries and group retirees.
SilverSneakers, another program for Medicare-eligible adults, delivers everything from high-intensity dance and strengthening workouts to relaxing yoga-Pilates fusion classes through a network of 13,000 fitness centers. Its FLEX program also provides boot camp, Latin dance and other classes in nontraditional locations such as pools, parks and retirement communities.
Test-drive a senior living exercise class
You may not think senior living communities can offer you fitness help, but many go out of their way to develop top-notch senior exercise programs. For instance, several Holiday Retirement communities host local SilverSneakers instructors for on-site fitness classes. From Zumba to yoga, residents can get their blood moving without leaving the community! Not a Holiday resident yet? These on-site fitness classes are open to the public, so other seniors from the community can join in and get a taste of life at Holiday.
If you prefer more atypical ways to stay active, Holiday delivers other fun physical activities, such as gardening clubs, bocce ball and bean bag baseball. There is also an e-book, "Active senior living through fitness & wellness," that can show you how to integrate exercise easily into your lifestyle.
Keep fit in the comfort of your home
Because it’s not always convenient to get to a class, it’s wise to bookmark some online exercise resources, so you can get your heart pumping even when you’re stretched for time.
Here are a few top picks.
Incorporating fitness into your everyday routine is one of the easiest ways to remain healthy, independent and vital. When you make fitness a priority, it can help you continue to do all the things you love, including playing tag with your grandkids or taking them for fun-packed days at amusement parks.
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