Leading an active lifestyle and exercising are important at any stage of life, and the senior years are no different. Studies have shown that seniors who engage in moderate regular physical activity have a decreased risk of losing mobility. Muscles and bones that are exercised stay stronger, and active joints are less likely to be stiff and sore.
Your mind can benefit from stimulating experiences and maintaining close relationships as well: taking on new challenges can help keep your thinking sharp, and spending time with friends or meeting new people provides you with a circle of friends for companionship and support. According to WebMD, seniors who have strong social ties are healthier and live longer.
Here are a few ideas to help you get started in developing a healthy routine.
Do Something Fun
Exercise doesn't have to be a rigid regimen to be of value; any activity that you enjoy doing can help keep your body strong and fit. Taking your grandchildren to the park can definitely count as exercise!
Activities that aren't physical exercise can be also be beneficial: getting together with friends to play cards or games strengthens your social bonds and can stimulate your mind. Check with your local senior centers and area churches, who frequently offer opportunities for fun senior activities.
Take a Class
You are never too old to learn something new. Perhaps you've always wanted to take up painting, expand your cooking horizons or even finish that degree, but life has always been too busy up until this point. No matter what your interest is, there is probably a class available, whether through a local senior center, community college or traditional university.
According to SeniorResource, some states offer discounted or free courses for seniors; ask your local schools what your individual state's policy is. You may also be able to take advantage of tax deductions for education, so be sure to check with your tax professional for details.
Nature has many healing properties for the body, mind and soul, and every climate and season has something of its own to offer. Even though it may seem easier to just stay inside, the effort is worth it: Sunlight, fresh air and natural beauty are just a few of the benefits of the great outdoors. Gardening and nature photography are two terrific ways to enjoy time outside.
Don't Be Afraid of Sports
While some sports, like tackle football, may not be the most prudent choice for seniors to take up, there are plenty of other great options to pick from. Swimming, jogging, cycling, tennis, golf and the ever popular walking are just a few. Make sure to check with your doctor before beginning any new physical activity, and consider asking for their help if you need advice for developing a healthy exercise routine.
Join a Group
There are groups that meet for just about every purpose under the sun. Knitting, chess, book clubs, and volunteer service project groups are just the beginning. Meeting with other people who share share your hobby or interest can be fun, lead to new friendships and provide a way to give back to your community. Groups in your area can found by online search, through inquiry at local shops that specialize in your area of interest and sometimes at large churches.
Pass on Your Wisdom
Seniors possess an amazing wealth of experience and knowledge that is greatly needed by the younger generations. Volunteering at a local Boys and Girls Club of America or other similar organization gives you the opportunity to be a positive influence on a needy young person. Another way to build into the next generation could be teaching a class at your church or other establishment. Check with your local elementary schools to see if there are any tutoring needs you may be qualified to fill.
One of the biggest benefits of reaching the senior years is the experience you have gained and the wisdom to recognize what is truly important in life. Taking good care of your body and mind to maximize your health for years to come is one of those priorities.