Staying active as you get older is not only good for your health, it can also make for a better quality of life, as you’ll feel stronger and fitter, have more things to get out and do, sleep better, and experience better moods and mental health.
There are plenty of ways that you can be active while also staying safe as a senior, and in this article, we’re going to look at some tips that can help you enjoy an active lifestyle after retirement.
Track and Monitor Your Activity
A lot of people of all ages find that it is more engaging and fun to get active if they set goals to work towards. Goals can be anything, as long as you can measure your progress towards them. You may set a goal to lose some weight, to walk a certain amount every day, to increase your strength until you can lift a certain amount of weight, or anything else like that which gives you a set, achievable goal and an amount of time to do it in.
Once you have your goals, you can keep track of what you are doing each day to meet them. There are different ways to do this – some people like to just keep a diary where they log their activity and other things like what they eat and how they felt that day, whereas others enjoy using things like wearable fitness trackers, such as a Fitbit, which counts your activity automatically and gives you graphs and things to look at your progress.
Make Sure You’re Safe When You Exercise
As you age, the risk of injury can become higher, and you may also be concerned about things like your heart. While you should only ever do exercise appropriate for your own fitness level and which takes into account any health problems you have, there is still the need to take care of your safety whatever kind of activity you are doing.
Some people prefer to do supervised or group exercise, for example by joining a walking group or going to yoga classes. This is good because there will always be someone around to help you if you run into any difficulties, but if you prefer the freedom and independence of being able to go out and be active by yourself, but also want the peace of mind that comes with knowing someone will help you if anything happens, then a medical alert system can be a great option.
If you are interested in learning more about this kind of technology and how it can benefit seniors who want to be active, this post discusses the best medical alert systems.
Include Some Strength Training
Most people, when they start wanting to get fitter, think of largely cardiovascular activities like walking, dancing, aerobics and swimming. While cardio is really important and will give you lots of benefits, taking good care of your muscle strength is also key for seniors. Strength training can help prevent loss of bone density, and can generally make sure you feel as mobile and strong as possible.
You can do basic strength training at home using video tutorials and your own body weight or some simple free weights, or you can look into strength focused classes such as Pilates, which work on your core muscles. Core strength is vital because it will keep your posture and gait at their best – helping prevent injuries and general physical deterioration.
Vary Your Activity
Finding an activity that you can do safely and which you enjoy can make it a lot easier to stay in shape as you age, but it is a good idea to mix things up and not only do one type of exercise. If you find it easy to add walking into your usual routine, then why not sometimes go swimming instead to use different muscle groups and keep things interesting?
If you normally do yoga, then why not also try a class at the gym that is more cardio focused, like a senior aerobics class, or a stationary bike? Varying what you do will stop you from getting bored, but it will also make sure that your whole body gets exercised and challenged, so that your fitness will continue to improve.
Exercise with Friends and Family
While there are lots of things you can do on your own or at organized classes, you can also have a lot of fun being active with the people in your life. Going out for walks with friends can be a good way to catch up and chat as well as getting active, and if one or more of you have a dog, then you can also be exercising your pets.
Playing games with the children in your family is always fun and a good way to up your activity, and this can also be where you begin to really see the results of your hard work, if you find you can keep up with active kids!
You can also think of ways you can incorporate activity into your social life, for example meeting up with friends to go to a class together or playing a sport as a regular thing, and then treating yourselves to a nice lunch together afterwards.
When you start being active with other people, you get even more benefits because the social interaction and fun helps to keep you feeling positive and engaged with the people in your life.
Learn New Physical Skills
Being active is great, but what can be even better is taking up a new and interesting hobby that keeps your brain as well as your body active. It is never too late to learn a new sport, or to take up something like dancing or martial arts, and you may find that having something where you are learning new skills as you exercise is a really rewarding way to enhance your life.
There are all sorts of ways to be more active as a senior, so why not think about adding more fun, interesting activity into your everyday life?