An Easy Wellness Plan For Seniors
According to the World Health Organization, seniors need about 150 minutes a week of aerobic exercise to stay physically and mentally fit. That works out to a very doable thirty minutes a day, five days a week. Seniors should supplement this aerobic exercise with physical activity because thirty minutes of exercise cannot counteract an entire day of inactivity.
Exercise and fitness have some other benefits as well, mostly regarding loneliness. According to one study, over 40 percent of seniors say they feel lonely some or all of the time. These individuals are greatly at risk for an early death. They face other challenges as well, such as spiraling isolation and depression.
Read on to learn how you, or a loved one, can develop a wellness plan that addresses these issues and also fits your lifestyle.
In addition to additional mobility and energy, physical exercise releases endorphins. This hormone improves mood and reduces stress. To get these benefits consider something like:
- Group Walking or Running: A few laps around a shopping mall or jogging track does wonders for your physical wellness. It’s even better in a group. Such an approach keeps you motivated to exercise, makes the time pass a little more quickly, and also helps you form important social connections.
- Yoga: These social connections abound in a senior-friendly yoga class. Most studios offer chair yoga and other activities for those with limited mobility, so there’s no reason not to sign up. Yoga also strengthens joints, detoxifies the body, and improves balance.
- Tai Chi: A senior-themed tai chi class also improves balance, thus reducing the risk of falls. The slow, controlled movements are also great for building physical strength, emotional calm, and physical stamina.
- Swimming: Even if you can’t swim, most pools offer water aerobics. The water pressure both increases the resistance and supports joints. Furthermore, swimming classes offer social connections.
Getting started is almost always the hardest part. After a few days, many people get addicted to the endorphin rush, a phenomenon commonly known as “runner’s high.” This rush will keep you motivated just like your newfound friends and enthusiastic instructor will do.
To supplement the aerobic exercise as well as the social connections they forge, it’s very important to move around as much as possible during the day. Once again, these habits are usually hard to form, so getting started is the biggest step.
For those with mobility impairment issues, walking around the house is a great place to start. Such activity builds the confidence you need to move around even more.
Be sure you adhere to a few fall prevention tips. For example, never use furniture or walls for balance. Instead, use a walking cane or any aid that your doctor prescribes. These canes are both stylish and practical. They look good and also make moving around a lot easier. Also, make sure that the floor is clutter-free. Finally, install plenty of light around the house, especially at the tops and bottoms of staircases.
The next step is walking around the neighborhood. Pop over to see the neighbors, walk to the corner store, or just do a lap or two around the block. These activities promote social connections as well. Keep in mind that many of your older neighbors probably struggle with loneliness as well, so your visits help you both.
Physical fitness and physical activity may not be a Fountain of Youth, but it is the next best thing. Moreover, the social connections you forge while staying active are almost as important. To truly enjoy these years, get out and share your time with other people.