Staying active as a senior is important for continued mental and physical health, but it doesn’t mean doing the things that you might have done as a younger person. As you get older, activities like jogging can actually do more harm than good due to physiological changes such as loss of bone density and cartilage that can lead to injury. Thankfully there are plenty of other options. Brightwater has compiled a short list of the best body-gentle exercises for seniors.
Swimming is a great activity for seniors for a number of reasons. It is gentle on aging joints, it eliminates the risk of a fall (once you are safely in the water), and it keeps you from overheating. It can also be an enormous amount of fun. You may associate swimming with laps, but if that seems boring, many pools offer water aerobics or other fun classes specifically for seniors.
Tai Chi was derived from ancient Chinese martial arts and involves slow-movement exercises that focus on posture and balance which can strengthen the core and prevent falls. Many seniors find Tai Chi beneficial from a mental health standpoint because it incorporates relaxed breathing and meditation techniques.
The health benefits of yoga are well established. There are many different types of yoga, some requiring a large amount of strength and coordination, but chair yoga was developed specifically for seniors who may not be as mobile or flexible as they once were. Studies show that seniors who regularly perform chair yoga report better quality of sleep and lower instances of depression.
Hopefully you have been inspired to get out there and find your perfect fitness fit. These activities are often offered at community senior centers and senior living facilities. For more information about staying healthy, keep an eye on the Brightwater Senior Living blog.