4 Essential Active Living Tips for Older Adults Data suggests that life expectancy is growing in countries like Canada, partly due to improvements in health care, better retirement residences, and older adults adopting more active lifestyles. Some benefits of active lifestyles for such adults include:
- Lower risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, and terminal illnesses.
- Increased stamina, muscle strength, and endurance.
- Less risk of falling and developing chronic or disabling conditions.
- Improved mental health with lower chances of anxiety and depression.
Switching to an active lifestyle may seem challenging, but it’s easily doable with subtle and gradual changes. Try some of the following tips to adopt a physically healthy lifestyle:
#1 Choose the Right Retirement Community
When selecting a living centre, pick a home for older adults with an active living community focus. Such retirement centres encourage residents to adopt active living lifestyles with gyms, swimming pools, and activities that are customized to match the strengths and limitations of older adults. For example, regular games like Wii bowling and ladder golf are very popular in top retirement homes. Such games may be low-intensity, but they’re quite stimulating.
In addition, such communities feature nuanced architectural implementations that boost their walkability score — residents can comfortably take simple walks around the community on convenient and secure walking paths.
#2 Engage with Family
Playing with grandchildren is an excellent way for older adults to add physical activity to their lives. Some examples of popular activities are going for walks or bike rides, playing hide-and-seek, or swimming at the pool or the beach. Other examples include peek-a-boo, baby yoga, or a video game that involves physical activity.
Likewise, gardening, walks in the park, building model airplanes, golfing, and ping-pong are fun and active group activities for older adults.
#3 Use Weight Strengthening Exercises
Weight strengthening exercises are incredibly beneficial for older adults. Strengthening muscles increases power and reduces pressure on joints. Weight training at the gym with support from a physical trainer specializing in training older adults is a great place to start. Advice from your physical or occupational therapist can also point you in the right direction.
Alternatively, try age-appropriate versions of Tai Chi, Yoga, or Pilates to boost muscular strength. You can enjoy such exercises at a retirement centre, park, or in your room with online training videos.
Other great tools for strength exercises include resistance bands and small dumbbells. If you don’t have access to equipment, try using a water bottle or a can of soup instead.
#4 Follow a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet can significantly improve an older adult’s lifestyle. The right food can leave you feeling healthy, energetic, and ready to adopt active living. On the other hand, a poor diet can increase physical and mental health risks. An inappropriate diet also forces some seniors to avoid eating, negatively impacting their body and energy levels.
Older adults should minimize their consumption of fast foods, sodas, and food that’s difficult to eat. You should eat darker green and orange vegetables, fruit, whole grain foods, and protein for the best nutrition. Food that’s prepared for older adults should also be easier to chew and consume.
Finally, when incorporating an active lifestyle, please be careful. Avoid activities or foods that are unsuitable. Exercise in a slow and controlled manner while using the correct technique to lift weights, walk, or partake in other physical activities. Active living is all about listening to your body and taking advantage of your support systems.