Get off your Duff and Give These Creative Options a Try!
No matter your age, exercise is proven to be beneficial in many ways. Regular exercise and proper nutrition can help to ward off disease, strengthen the bones and improve balance and flexibility. As we age, these things become more important than ever.
It can be easy to get burned out on exercise if you’ve been doing it for decades. Also, as the body ages, some activities we used to enjoy may become more difficult. But that doesn’t mean we should just sit on the couch and do nothing. There are fun and creative ways seniors and boomers can continue to exercise.
Make a Splash with Water Exercises
Arthritis and joint pain are among the chief complaints of seniors and boomers as they age. When pain in the joints flares up, the last thing seniors want to do is exercise. Certain exercises, however, can be exactly the thing you need to help relieve the pain.
Introducing water into the equation can add to the relief exercise brings to arthritis sufferers. Water exercises are proven to relieve arthritis and joint pain, while simultaneously increasing bone density and muscle mass. Water provides the kind of resistance that is low impact to joints, but is ideal for building or maintaining muscle mass.
Some water exercises that may provide the most benefit to seniors and boomers includes:
- Water jogging – this is the perfect, low-impact exercise. Easy on the joints, it gets the heart rate up and the blood flowing in the body, which is necessary for improving or maintaining physical fitness. Start off by jogging from one side of the pool to another for a few minutes, and slowly build up the amount of time/laps you are able to complete.
- Leg lifts – doing leg lifts in the water is a great way to work all of the muscles in the leg. Be sure to hold on to the side of the pool and complete one set of 10 repetitions per leg. Increase repetitions as your strength and stamina improve.
- Pushups – performing this basic upper-body exercise in water is a great way to build strength without putting too much stress on the joints. Stand along the side of the pool and position your hands shoulder-width apart. Do pushups until your arms feel tired.
Improve Balance and Stamina with Tai Chi
Tai chi is an ancient martial art that is considered to be one of the major branches of the traditional Chinese martial arts. The essential principals of Tai Chi are based on Taoism, an ancient Chinese philosophy that stresses natural balance and encourages living in spiritual and physical harmony with nature.
Like water exercises, tai chi is low impact and easy on the joints, making it an ideal exercise for seniors and boomers. In addition to being low impact, Tai Chi also is great for improving balance – something that is incredibly important as we age because good balance is vital in helping to prevent falls.
While there are many self-help Tai Chi home videos available, it is recommended that seniors and boomers who are taking Tai Chi for the first time do so through a reputable program. Many community centers and even some senior centers offer Tai Chi classes for seniors that are led by knowledgeable instructors who can help ensure the moves are being performed correctly for optimal benefits.
Put on your Dancing Shoes
Some seniors and boomers are in better physical shape than others, so activities such as dancing are an ideal way to stay in shape and socialize with others.
Several scientific studies, including this one, have discovered that dancing not only is great for improving stamina and gait, but also can help ward off conditions such as Alzheimer’s.
A study conducted by Saint Louis University tracked the benefits of dance for individuals age 24 to 80, including older people who had arthritis or joint stiffness. After several months of dancing, the participants with arthritis or joint pain reported they were experiencing less pain and were able to walk at a quicker pace.
Ballroom dancing has proven to be the most beneficial to seniors due to its ability to boost balance and improve overall gait. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine also revealed that seniors who danced on a regular basis were 76 percent less likely to develop Dementia or other memory issues.
Some senior centers and senior living communities offer dancing classes for seniors and boomers. Some organizations also offer free dancing opportunities for seniors and boomers. Search online using the key words dancing and free to find one near you.
Limited Mobility? Try Conductorcizing
Seniors and boomers who have limited mobility due to a pre-existing injury or condition can still exercise in a meaningful way.
Conductorcizing is quickly becoming a popular exercise option. It offers a workout for the body, mind and soul by combining a symphony performance, a history lesson and an aerobic workout in one convenience package. The exercises can be modified so that participants can perform them while standing or seated.
Many senior centers and community centers offer this program, so check one nearest to you to see if it is available.
Have some creative exercise tips to share? We’d love to hear about them in the comments!