8 Things Seniors Can Do to Stay Active

Have you ever gone to reach for something and felt your body send you signals that it’s not as young as it once was?

You are not alone. As we age, activities that used to be a breeze, naturally begin to take more effort. The good news is, many of us can stay active and fend off some of the natural declines of our body’s strength.

Staying active has a plethora of health benefits but unfortunately, many of us do not stay as active as we should. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 33% of men and 50% of women age 75 and older are not physically active.

With that said, seniors need to take precautions and choose activities that will be beneficial without pushing themselves to the point of injury. Here are eight ways to stay healthy while also knowing your limits.

1.     Get your doctor’s blessing

Before we dive into all of the great options for staying active, let’s talk about the most important part; seeing your doctor.

Just a basic checkup can make a world of difference.

Most seniors who are 65 and older have Medicare as their primary insurance coverage. For those who have Medicare Part B, they can reap the benefits of an annual wellness visit with no out-of-pocket costs.

This visit is basic but will provide your doctor with the opportunity to make sure you are in good condition and able to do the activities you want.

2.     Do more chores (the fun kind!)

What kind of things need to be done around the house that you enjoy doing? Though most people don’t view chores as “fun”, they can be enjoyable and good for your health all at once.

For many, gardening is activity around the house that can be great exercise but also acts as a source of relaxation. Gardening helps spark creativity and also can produce some great rewards, literally!

If gardening isn’t your cup of tea, you can get the same benefits from activities like doing laundry, painting, mowing the lawn, or vacuuming. If you are feeling very energetic, go for them all.

3. Find your “one” thing

Let’s face it, just hearing the word exercise can be exhausting. The best thing to do is to try out a few activities and find one that doesn’t feel like exercise.

When you find one that works for you, it becomes a lot easier to keep up with it and add it to your routine. Whether it is running, yoga, walking, swimming, or one of the many other options, try to incorporate your “one” thing into your routine for the long-term.

4. Pick up dancing

Dancing sounds too fun to be exercise. The reality is quite contrary to that belief. Dancing is one of the greatest cardio activities you can do as a senior.

Dancing not only helps you keep your cardiovascular health in check, it also provides your muscles with a fantastic workout. Depending upon the style of dancing, your muscles will be worked and moved in ways they could not be with traditional cardio on its own.

5. Babysit

Was babysitting one of your first jobs? It certainly was for many of us. As we get older and enjoy the great joy of family, babysitting makes its way back into the mix.

Whether you are a grandparent, great-aunt, great-uncle, or just a great family friend, you can probably think of a few people who would love to have you babysit their little one.

The benefit for you? Quality time, exercise, and finding your inner child again

6. Take a yoga class

If you have never taken a yoga class, this form of exercise can sound intimidating. The truth is, yoga can be a wonderful, low-impact way to stay healthy as a senior.

Yoga provides both physical and mental benefits. Yoga is a great way to de-stress, stretch out, and focus on your breathing. Too nervous to go to a class? Search for a great tutorial on YouTube and make your home into your own private studio.

7. Get in the kitchen

Some may view this as counter-productive, exercising while you eat? Yeah! It sounds like a win-win scenario. Finding a great recipe or recipes that take more time than usual can mean moving around the kitchen and keeping yourself up and around for hours.

The best part? By the end of it (if all goes well) you will have a great meal to enjoy. 

8. Volunteer

The number of volunteer opportunities in most communities is greater than the number of people able to volunteer. You can mix your need for physical activity with a great cause. Whether you enjoy helping dogs, cleaning up roadways, or being around children – volunteering is a fantastic way to mix charity and activity.

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Danielle Kunkle

Danielle is a co founder of Boomer Benefits who writes regularly for many online publications, including Forbes, where she is a member of the Finance Council. A TCU journalism graduate and former magazine editor, she enjoys sharing her knowledge.