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Staying active as you age is one of the most important things you can do to maintain your physical and mental health, as well as your quality of life, mobility, and independence. Even if you’ve never been very active, it’s never too late to start reaping the rewards.
Exercise falls into three broad categories: endurance, flexibility, and strength. They each have different benefits for your health, so it’s important to get a mixture of all three types.
Endurance activities for older adults
Endurance activities are ones that make you feel warmer and breathe more deeply. They’re great for your heart, lungs, circulation, and muscles, and help boost your energy and stamina.
Flexibility activities for older adults
Working on your flexibility helps you keep your joints healthy and maintain your mobility, something which is important for everyday activities such as:
- Tying your shoelaces
- Reaching high shelves
- Getting in and out of the bathtub
Strength activities for older adults
Strength activities challenge your muscles, helping maintain muscle and bone strength, reduce bone loss, and improve your posture and balance – which in turn will help you avoid falls.
Below you can find examples of different activities for older adults, which can be done year-round both indoors and outdoors. Try to get a mix of the different types throughout the week, aiming for a total of 150 minutes a week or 20 minutes a day of activity.
If you aren’t sure where to begin, or you have a condition or injury you’re concerned about, speak to your doctor before you start exercising. And whenever you decide to try something new, always be sure to learn the proper technique in order to protect your back and joints.
Exercises for older adults
4-7 days a week
2-4 days a week
● Playing sports like tennis or basketball
● Tai Chi
● Lifting weights
● Carrying groceries
● Climbing stairs
● Body weight classes
Activities for every season
Although you can do the same activities year-round, adding new activities to your exercise routine each season can keep you motivated, as well as being a fun way to try new things.
As the snow melts and the weather starts to warm up, why not get out there and enjoy the sights and smells of nature by going on a hike or cycling a local trail. You could even take the opportunity to explore a national park if there’s one close by. If you want to appreciate the nature that’s right on your doorstep, spring is a great time for gardening to get your outdoor space ready for summer.
By the time summer hits, most people just want to cool down, so it’s an excellent time to go swimming at a local outdoor pool. Or, if you’re feeling more adventurous, try taking a dip in the ocean or a lake.
If you want to do something closer to home and have some outside space, you could get a lawn bowling or croquet set and invite friends or family round for a game. It’s great exercise, as well as being super social.
With Halloween on the horizon, visiting your local pumpkin patch is a fun fall activity. Pick your own and either make pumpkin pie or spend an evening carving jack o’ lanterns.
If you prefer apple pie to pumpkin, fall is also apple season. Picking fruit is a great way to work on flexibility and strength.
Though it’s tempting to stay indoors where it’s warm, activities like cross-country skiing, skating, and snowshoeing are a great way to try something new and make the most of the cold weather.
The information presented in this blog post is designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this post as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for professional counseling care. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.