By Christina Bhattacharya
As we age, maintaining an active lifestyle is critical to our health and fitness. Fitness is crucial for staying independent and active, and it can even help lower the risk of many health conditions like stroke, heart attack, arthritis and even depression. The CDC recommends seniors participate in exercise at least 30 minutes every day.
That doesn't mean Mom has to hit the gym or start jogging - instead, encourage her to engage in activities that she enjoys so she's more likely to continue. Below are some ways Mom can stay active, healthy, and independent throughout her golden years.
Senior Fitness: Away From Home
- Swimming/Water Aerobics. Water activities are a great way to tone your Mom's muscles and increase endurance. The Arthritis Foundation notes that water's buoyancy decreases the impact on joints and can soothe joint and muscular pain; and can help improve cardiovascular fitness, balance, and range of motion.
- Tai Chi. According to Harvard Health, Tai Chi is often described as “meditation in motion “. The low-impact, slow exercise focuses on deep breathing, muscular strength, balance, and flexibility. Tai Chi not only helps to increase circulation but it can also promote positive well-being.
- Walking. Walking is one of the most popular and easiest activities for your Mom to perform. Many communities have formed senior walking clubs through senior, fitness, or health centers where seniors can meet other like-minded people for a little walking and talking.
- Group Exercise Classes. Exercise classes are a fun way for Mom to add aerobic exercise to her weekly routine. Local community or senior centers often provide exercise classes designed for seniors.
- Sports. Sports like tennis, golf, water volleyball and seated volleyball are an excellent way to help motivate Mom to remain active. A little healthy competition and teamwork can inspire Mom to maintain her commitment to exercise while enjoying the company of her peers.
Senior Fitness: At Home
- Inside Walking. Even if Mom can't get outside, encourage walking within the home. Frequent walk breaks in the home in addition to walking in place while folding laundry or watching television can help Mom remain active. The GreatCall Lively Wearable, one of the best pedometers for seniors, counts steps inside or out so she can keep track of her progress. It also has a discreet emergency button if she ever needs help when she's on the go.
- Dancing. Create a playlist of your Mom's favorite songs. Encourage her to listen and dance daily for a mental and physical boost. Additionally, there are many dance exercise videos available on DVD and online that Mom can use at home to keep moving.
- Wheelchair rolling. Is your Mom in a wheelchair? No problem. Encourage seated strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular activities, like frequent wheelchair mobility around the house, to keep the mind and body active and healthy.
Of course, it's always important to check with your Mom's doctor before starting a new exercise program, and these ideas are just a start. For more ideas, check out our post on Easy Exercises for Seniors.
Tell us in the comments! What does your Mom to stay active?