As individuals get older, it only becomes more important to maintain an active lifestyle. One of the top five reasons for health decline in older adults is social isolation, so the importance of maintaining an active and engaged lifestyle is clear. Staying active doesn’t necessarily mean working out or hitting the gym, though. There are a variety of ways that seniors can maintain an active lifestyle while enjoying a fun activity.
It is paramount to encourage seniors to remain engaged in the world around them by taking them on outings to local outdoor attractions or even the mall or the theatre. Not only does it provide them with a sense of belonging and culture, but it also allows them to enjoy boosts to their mental and emotional states. Aging Care discussed the benefits of getting outside saying, “In addition to the physical benefits of natural sunlight and fresh air, being outside provides mental and emotional benefits.” Older adults can also enjoy social interaction with new people by going on outings as well.
One of the most therapeutic methods to maintain an active lifestyle while participating in a fun activity is gardening. According to Better Health, “Gardening increases levels of physical activity, and maintains mobility and flexibility.” They go on to mention that it is “a healthy, stimulating physical activity that can be enjoyed by older people.” Not only is gardening great for your body, but it is also a great way to feel connected with your community by working together with your peers towards a common goal.
Afternoon Socials/Happy Hour
A vital aspect of senior care is making sure that they maintain their independence by encouraging them to participate in activities that they engaged with in their younger years. By offering certain programs such as social activities and even Happy Hour, older adults are able to enjoy the feeling of independence while maintaining an active lifestyle of walking around and getting social interaction. Director of Recreational Services at Spring Hills Cherry Hill, Nicholas Richmond, noted that, “Social interaction is so important and, while outings are great, something as simple as going to socials or happy hour can also be beneficial for our seniors’ mental and emotional well-being. They get to feel a sense of belonging in their community while enjoying the health benefits of getting out of bed and walking around the building.”
Another fun way for seniors to stay active is to dance. Not only is dancing a great way to relieve stress and express yourself, but it is also a great tool to help combat health decline in older adults. An expert interview from CNN noted that, “The aging population is at high risk for falls, and we think dance, especially, can be beneficial in reducing the risk of falls, because dance is just a series of balance tests.” The positive emotional response combined with the benefits for your physical health make dancing an excellent tool to help older adults stay active.
Game Nights (Wii Sports)
Game nights aren’t just a fun activity, but they are also jam-packed with benefits for the health of the aging population. Games that encourage physical activity, such as Wii Sports, make great tools to help keep seniors active. A study done by Florida State University on the benefits of the Wii video game in geriatric communities found that, “(Wii) offers both social and health benefits to participants and is easy to use even for seniors with limited gaming experience.” Including Wii Sports or other physically demanding games in your game night lineup is a fun-filled way to encourage an active lifestyle for older adults.