By : Kathrine Kreger
Exercise is a great way to improve the health of your mind and body. Think you’re too old to jump on the exercise bandwagon? Think again! These 5 great exercise ideas will help keep you active and healthy – and best of all, your friends can join in, too.
Yoga provides an ideal, low-impact exercise for seniors. Renowned for its ability to induce calm, relieve stress, and encourage a sense of inner peace, yoga is also provides many important health benefits for seniors. These include improved strength and muscle balance, increased lung capacity, and better sleep.
Swimming is a great way to cool off on a hot day – and it’s also a terrific, low-impact exercise for seniors. Because water reduces stress and weight on aging joints, gentle aerobic exercise in a pool is an excellent way to alleviate arthritis, as well as sore, stiff muscles and joints. Pool exercise classes offer a great way to take advantage of these benefits while enjoying time with friends. Even if you’ve never set foot in a pool before, it’s never too late to learn. Companies like SwimJim specialize in swimming lessons, including classes specifically geared for seniors. For a SwimJim location near you visit swimjim.com/loc-ny.
Tai chi is another popular exercise that’s great for seniors. In China, where tai chi originated, over half of the country’s total tai chi practitioners began after age 50! Tai chi is an ideal low-impact exercise, with well-documented health benefits. Tai chi is particularly helpful in developing balance and coordination, as well as improving circulation. In addition to its many health benefits, tai chi is typically practiced in groups of up to 100 or more, making it a perfect exercise to try with friends.
Perhaps no other exercise takes better advantage of the social benefits of exercise than dance. Dance is a terrific way to spend time with friends while engaging in light aerobic exercise. The possibilities of this activity are only limited to your imagination – from modern dance to ballroom to swing to salsa. Dance is also particularly easily catered to any physical limitations you might have. Simply change up your moves – for example, substitute a simple two-step for a jump and kick. For seniors with severe movement restrictions, there are even specialized dance classes for use with chairs or wheelchairs.
Walking can elevate your heart rate and strengthen your legs and core muscles without putting excessive strain on your knee joints. A light walk can also be a great way to catch up with friends, or spend quality time with your four-legged companion. Nordic walking, a popular new trend, incorporates walking poles into a regular walking routine – making this a perfect option for seniors who are a little unsteady on their feet. Unlike a structured class, walking has the additional advantage of being easily catered to your needs – from a few minutes to an all-afternoon stroll. The most pleasant walks for seniors are those that end with a fun activity or destination – like walking with a friend to a local coffee shop.