thirdAGE: 10 Ways to Stay Active
**Reprinted from ThirdAGE article HERE.
Maintaining an active lifestyle is good for people of all ages.
For seniors, staying active can bring a number of benefits. These include better mood and feelings; lowered risk of stroke, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer; enhanced ability to learn, think and make decisions; and enhanced appreciation of one’s self. Many seniors suffer from boredom as a result of isolation or health conditions that may limit their ability to be active. Isolation affects both physical and mental well-being, and can be a precursor to depression.
Here are ten ways to combat that:
Don’t overlook your local senior center.
Senior centers can be found in various communities whether large or small, urban or rural and are valuable resources. Some senior centers are lucky enough to be run by the county or city with local public funding. They can offer a number of services including day programs, low-cost or free mobility transport, support groups, classes, dances, hikes and social meals. Check the phone directory or online to search for senior centers that are available in your town or neighborhood.
Activities can include moderate aerobic exercises, dancing, brisk walking, swimming, raking leaves, simple hand weights lifting, balancing, doing tai chi, and yoga. Taking a class can be even more beneficial than exercising solo. Remember to seek a doctor’s advice on the level and types of physical activity that are suitable for you. This can be particularly necessary if you have some health issues such as diabetes, obesity or heart disease.
Be a volunteer or attend local events.
Maintain your health and positive outlook by doing activities that are not only enjoyable but are also meaningful. Some great volunteering opportunities can be found at Habitat for Humanity, United Service Organizations, Senior Corps, the Red Cross and countless others. You can also consider libraries, schools, childcare facilities, community centers and nonprofits in your neighborhood.
Start or pursue a hobby.
Choose something that really sparks your interest. It’s also a great opportunity to make new friends who share the same passion. Consider coloring, fishing, cooking, scrapbook making, crocheting and painting.
Play brain games.
Activities like solving puzzles and playing memory games can help keep seniors stay fit, sharp and witty.
Go on a road trip.
Road trips are one of the best ways to explore new sights and places while getting some well-deserved relaxation time. There are also a lot of senior travel deals out there.
Discover the benefits of getting a massage.
The older we get, the more our bodies start to slow down and experience a certain level of pain and stiffness. One effective and non-invasive way to alleviate some of these age-related conditions is massage therapy.
Grow an herb garden.
It’s easy and requires little to no experience in gardening. Herbs can help us reduce or even eliminate salt. Some herbs that grow great indoors include thyme, basil, oregano, lemongrass, chives, parsley, and mint.
Share your knowledge through teaching.
Do you have a specific skill or knowledge and are interested to share it with others? You can volunteer to teach a class. Research and check for the requirements in teaching as well as your eligibility to teach. If you’re looking for opportunities that require minimal pre-requisites, you can try conducting classes in baking, sewing, cooking and knitting.
Catch up on your reading by going to the library.
Nothing can compare to the pleasure of going to the library and being immersed in reading a good book. And reading keeps our minds alert and more conscious of the world around us. Libraries also often have book groups or clubs that can bring you into contact with like-minded readers.