We’ve all heard a myriad of statistics about fitness and seniors. For example, studies indicate that more than 80% of adults in the United States do not meet the guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities and less than 5% of adults participate in a minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity each day. Most people are well-aware about the importance of staying physically active through all stages of life, so why aren’t older adults getting the physical activity they need? Sometimes ramping up one’s personal activity level simply requires a change in mindset.
Incorporate Fitness into Daily Activities
There are a number of reasons why making physical fitness part of a regular routine may be challenging. Conditions that cause chronic pain like arthritis, osteoarthritis or fibromyalgia may make exercise seem too difficult. Other medical conditions such as diabetes or thyroid issues often result in weight gain or cause fatigue, both of which can make exercise seem too taxing. Mobility issues and disabilities, negative body image, shyness and even fear can contribute to loss of physical fitness in older adults. However, being physically active doesn’t have to mean making a big commitment to a fitness class or participating in a sport. There are many simple ways to get the body moving and the heart rate up while taking part in a normal routine. Often the best solution to increasing one’s exercise is to find creative ways to bump up the intensity of routine daily activities.
Clean or Straighten-Up Vigorously
Vigorous cleaning can burn up to 200 calories per hour. Those with a house cleaner or residents of a community that provides housekeeping services can still benefit by putting a little more effort into simple tasks of making the bed, hanging up clothes, putting away paperwork and generally straightening up.
Go for a Stroll
Walking is one of the best forms of exercise, and it can burn 200-270 calories per hour depending on the walker’s speed and weight. Walking with a friend is a great way to get a visit in, and it is also a welcome distraction to really get the heart pumping.
Take the Stairs or Park Farther Away
Incorporating more steps into daily life can be very rewarding and there are many ways to do this so that it doesn’t feel like a huge effort. Opt for stairs over an elevator whenever possible, for example, at the doctor’s office, shopping mall or library. Also, select a parking space at the far end of the lot. This saves time in looking for a close spot, and also helps increase daily steps.
Walk While Talking on The Phone or Watching TV
It’s easy to become a couch potato while parked in front of the television or chatting on the phone. To ensure more activity, get up and walk around or stretch during commercial breaks. Better yet, set a timer and walk laps around the room for 5 or 10 minutes every half hour. Pacing around the room is a good strategy for phone conversations too.
Join a Group or Support a Cause
Join a social group that participates in activities that involve walking. This will be most successful if the activity relates to a personal interest. For example, a photography club, a bird watching group or a cooking class. Likewise, joining a charitable organization that hosts activities such as food drives or charity walks can be personally fulfilling, make a difference to others and also result in a higher activity level.
Staying physically active through the years is an important key to overall well-being and longevity. Lighthouse Senior Living offers fun and entertaining health and wellness programs, such as Zumba and “Sit and Be Fit” classes to keep residents engaged and active. Contact us to schedule a tour today.