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How Much Physical Activity Do Seniors Need?

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A Group of Seniors outside doing yoga.

Staying physically active is a means for maintaining health, and a joyful avenue to enhance quality of life, foster community, and keep the spirit of adventure alive. There’s no denying the joy and vitality that physical activity can bring into your life. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that individuals aged 65 and older, who are generally fit should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every week or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity. So, lace up those shoes, grab a friend, and step out into a world of movement, laughter, and wellness. 

The Benefits of Regular Exercise

At any age, staying active can improve quality of life by enhancing mobility, flexibility, and balance, reducing the risk of falls and injuries. Exercise can also improve mental health, helping to alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety, and fostering a sense of well-being. Maintaining an active lifestyle can also contribute to better sleep patterns, increased energy levels, and a sharper mind.  

Engaging in regular exercise also helps to maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer. It can also improve cardiovascular health, strengthen muscles and bones, and decrease the likelihood of developing osteoporosis.

Recommended Exercises for a Vibrant Life

Any amount of physical activity is better than none and the key is to increase activity levels gradually, focusing on what feels good and achievable. Here are some ideas to get started:

Walking: Perhaps the most accessible and social activity, walking provides cardiovascular benefits and allows for connection with others and nature.

Swimming and Water Aerobics: These low-impact exercises are fantastic for those with arthritis or joint pain, as the water provides natural resistance and supports the body.

Yoga and Tai Chi: Both practices enhance flexibility, strength, and balance, while also offering a serene way to connect the mind and body.

Cycling: Gentle on the joints and exhilarating for the spirit, cycling is a wonderful way to explore the outdoors, enjoy the fresh air, and maintain cardiovascular health. 

Modified Exercise for People with Limited Mobility

Smiling mature woman exercising while seated indoors.

For those with limited mobility, exercising can be challenging, but with some modifications to fun activities, you can stay active:

Chair Exercises: Engage in workouts specifically designed for or adaptable to being seated, including chair yoga or gentle strength training with light weights.

Stretching: Incorporating daily stretching can improve flexibility, reduce discomfort, and increase blood flow. Simple stretches or guided routines can be done from the comfort of your chair or bed.

Light Gardening: For those who can stand or walk short distances, gardening can be a soothing and gratifying way to stay active, nurturing both the body and spirit through connection with the Earth.

It’s important to find joy in these activities, adapting them to suit personal comfort levels and abilities. Always consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new exercise regime, especially if you have existing health concerns. 

The Role of Nutrition & Sleep

Alongside the CDC’s recommendations for activity, a well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains provides the energy and nutrients necessary to support an active lifestyle. Sleep, too, plays a crucial role in the wellness of older adults. Quality sleep supports physical recovery, improves cognitive function, and can significantly enhance mood and outlook. By paying attention to these key components of health—activity, nutrition, and rest—you can enjoy a fuller, more vibrant life at any age.

Hydration Matters

Drinking plenty of fluids before, during, and after exercise helps maintain health and facilitates recovery after exercise. Water is the best choice for staying hydrated, but herbal teas and natural fruit juices are also good options, offering hydration with a splash of flavor. Feelings of thirst can decrease with age, so it’s wise to drink water regularly throughout the day, not just when you feel thirsty. Setting gentle reminders to take sips of water can make a big difference in how you feel and function.

Listening to Your Body

The key to a sustainable active lifestyle is tuning into your body’s cues and respecting its limits. If something hurts, take it as a sign to slow down or try a different activity. It’s not about the intensity of the workout but the consistency and enjoyment it brings to your daily life.

Building an Active Life with Joy

At LifeWell Senior Living, we believe in the power of staying active to maintain physical health and enrich life with joy and purpose. We encourage our residents to explore various physical activities that resonate with their interests and capabilities, always keeping safety, enjoyment, and personal well-being in mind.

If you’re looking for a supportive environment where health and happiness go hand-in-hand, discover LifeWell Senior Living. With three levels of care, chef-prepared meals, and daily activities, LifeWell Senior Living is a vibrant and welcoming community. Schedule a tour today to discover what our community has to offer.

Written by LifeWell

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