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17Apr

Staying Active for Seniors: Approachable, Fun Ways to Exercise

Maintaining an active lifestyle is crucial at any age, but for seniors, finding accessible, safe, and enjoyable forms of exercise can be especially important. Staying active as you age improves strength, flexibility, balance, and even mental health, which contribute to a higher quality of life and allow seniors to live independently for longer. Yet not everyone identifies as an athlete, and many seniors may have mobility limitations that make traditional workouts less feasible. That’s why it’s essential to find exercises for seniors that work for various lifestyles and concerns.

 

Here’s how seniors of all ability levels can stay active in their golden years.

Safe, Low-Impact Exercises

Low-impact exercises are an excellent starting point for seniors because they offer all the benefits of physical activity while minimizing the risk of injury. This is important for two reasons: first, seniors with low bone density and fragile joints can experience more severe injuries than others; second, injuries and recovery delays can disrupt exercise habits and momentum. Some types of low-impact exercise for seniors can include:

 

  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Yoga
  • Tai Chi (including seated exercises)
  • Ballroom dancing
  • Pilates

 

All of these activities help with cardiovascular health, flexibility, strength, and mental wellness, all without putting too much strain on the joints.

Exercises for Seniors With Limited Mobility

For seniors with mobility challenges, chair exercises are a great way to stay active. Contrary to what you might think, chair exercises can actually improve range of motion, strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular health. Some workouts for seniors in wheelchairs include moves like seated marches, chair yoga, arm raises, and weight lifting, each accessible for individuals with standing or walking limitations.

 

Seniors who have limited mobility but don’t use a wheelchair can also do simple movements and gentle exercises from non-seated positions. These can include moves like head or body rotations, leg lifts, balancing exercises, and more.

Creative and Fun Ways to Stay Active

Particularly for seniors who don’t enjoy jogging, hitting the gym, or other conventional modes of exercise, getting “sneaky exercise” through fun activities can make workouts less of a chore. Finding enjoyable physical activities for seniors increases the likelihood that you will keep doing them, thereby increasing your chances of keeping this healthy habit. Some creative ways to get moving include:

 

  • Dancing
  • Gardening
  • Bowling
  • Playing with grandchildren
  • Golfing
  • Playing lawn games like horseshoes, croquet, cornhole, or bocce ball
  • Using a stationary bike while watching TV

Staying Fit at Home

For seniors who prefer or need to exercise at home, there are plenty of options that require minimal to no equipment. Try simple strength training exercises using household items as weights (such as water bottles or cans) to help build muscle and improve balance. You can also enroll in guided online fitness classes or use senior-friendly workout videos on streaming apps like YouTube, all in the comfort and privacy of your own home.

Tips for Incorporating Exercise Into Daily Life

Another key fitness strategy for seniors is to find simple ways to incorporate more physical movement into daily and weekly routines. This can be especially beneficial if you aren’t feeling up to a full workout (or don’t have time for one), but still want to make your daily activities work in your favor. Ideas include:

 

  • Taking short walks (ideally with a friend, neighbor, or dog for company)
  • Stretching regularly
  • Doing basic mini-sets of exercises in between other activities, such as walking lunges, individual yoga moves or stretches, planks, pushups, or high-step marching
  • Choosing movement that requires at least some effort when possible, such as taking the stairs rather than the elevator; walking to nearby locations instead of driving or riding; and standing rather than sitting
  • Gamifying your physical activity, such as challenging a friend to take more steps than you over the course of a given time period (using a smartwatch or pedometer) or seeing who can win the most games (bowling, golf, lawn games, etc.)

Enjoy a Healthier Life With Chapel Pointe

Chapel Pointe is a faith-based continuing care retirement community. We commit each day to serving and enhancing the quality of life for people aged 62+ in Central Pennsylvania, offering amenities and services to boost our residents’ physical, mental, and spiritual health. We’re honored that our greater community sees the servant-heart of our nonprofit organization and consistently selects Chapel Pointe as “The Best of Cumberland County.”

 

Nestled in eight beautifully landscaped acres in Carlisle, PA, our welcoming campus is filled with amenities that make life easy, enjoyable, and wellness-centered. Bird-watch from the gazebo, take a quiet moment in the chapel, curl up with a book in the library, join a friend for coffee in the community room, use the free internet in the café, or take the shuttle to local stores.

 

Contact us to learn more about our community wellness offerings and how Chapel Pointe can help you to live your best life!

 

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