4 Fun Ways for Seniors to Get Fit While Being Social
by Jim Vogel
Seniors have a higher risk of depression and dementia when they are isolated from friends and family members. But, staying active helps ward off mental disorders and the brain deterioration that characterizes dementia. That’s why seniors should combine getting fit and being social; exercising with friends is one of the best ways for seniors to stay physically and mentally fit. We share some tips for having fun and being social while getting fit below.
- Go Dancing
Dancing is a physical activity that gets seniors socializing while increasing their heart rate, improving their balance, and keeping them moving. Dancing is fun and gives seniors a chance to reminisce with their favorite tunes. One study also shows that dancing is an ideal physical activity for seniors who have knee and hip pain: older adults with arthritis or stiffness in their hips and knees reported a significant reduction in pain once they began dancing.
If you’re interested in going dancing to get fit while being social and having fun, check with local senior centers and dance studios to see whether they offer dance classes for seniors. Thanks to a popular reality television show, ballroom dancing has become popular again, and dance instructors across the nation offer this form of dance for seniors, which has been shown to improve their balance, boost brain health, and improve overall body strength. Some community centers, YMCAs, and churches also offer dance classes for seniors.
- Go Hiking
Doctors and researchers agree that walking is one of the most important things older Americans can do to improve their overall health. In fact, Bill Evans, from the University of Arkansas’ Institute on Aging, says, “Walking and moving around is the single most important thing older people can do to extend their life expectancy and remain independent.”
Hiking is one way that seniors can be social and get fit. Of course, nobody of any age should hike alone because of safety concerns, so hiking naturally is a social physical activity. Uneven terrain helps seniors improve their balance, and carrying some hiking gear increases their strength. Hiking in groups gives seniors a chance to get into nature and explore the outdoors together. Hiking groups also can share the load and help one another over rough terrain.
- Start a Part-Time Job
Some seniors prefer to get fit without doing a traditional workout. For these seniors, part-time jobs that keep them active are ideal. Part-time work keeps seniors moving so they can avoid a sedentary lifestyle. Seniors also get a chance to socialize with co-workers and customers or clients when they begin a part-time job. For example, seniors may become dog walkers or “taskers.” These part-time jobs allow seniors to set their own schedules while also getting a chance to talk regularly with their clients. These jobs also give seniors the opportunity to get a little exercise, which helps them increase and maintain their strength and balance.
- Take Advantage of Seasonal Activities
Seniors who love to travel and stay active year-round should take advantage of seasonal activities. In the winter, you can cross-country ski and go snowshoeing in the Midwest or Northeast. In spring, you can take a walking tour or go for a hike in just about any part of the country. In summer, you can go kayaking, canoeing, fishing, and golfing in Colorado, Montana, or the East Coast. Fall is the perfect time to go walking and biking to enjoy the beautiful fall foliage of New England. Traveling will give you places to explore and adventures to take with friends and family and new friends you will meet along the way. Plus, traveling and staying active as a whole is a natural method to combat the chronic pain that seniors so often experience whether due to disease or aging. Rather than add another prescription to the list and risk accidental abuse, find fun and healthy ways to cope and boost your wellness too.
Seniors have more fun and benefit more from physical activities when they do them with others. If you’re looking for ways to get fit while being social, try dancing, hiking, working part time, and taking advantage of seasonal activities.
Image via Pixabay by Bernard-Verougstraete