Balloon volleyball, anyone? Care for an afternoon stroll? Exercise evolves at every stage of life, and retirement is no exception. Physical activity supports mental health and guards against a host of physical ailments such as heart disease and diabetes. Everyone enters their golden years with different backgrounds, skill levels, and physical limitations, but many older adults search for new ways to stay physically active in retirement.
At Daystar Retirement Village in West Seattle, WA, we love keeping our residents moving with a calendar to appeal to every interest and need. Catch us for a scenic stroll or join us for morning stretches. We’re ready to include you in the fun we have each day.
How Much Physical Activity Do Older Adults Need?
The CDC recommends some combination of 150 minutes of moderate physical activity weekly or 75 minutes per week of vigorous physical exercise combined with two weekly muscle-strengthening sessions for older adults without limiting health conditions. These recommendations also recognize that adults over 65 are more likely to have limiting health and physical conditions and provide helpful suggestions to ensure seniors with health conditions find the right level of challenge for their needs.
We love this comprehensive guide to growing stronger because it helps each person make a thoughtful and individualized plan.
Best Physical Activities for Seniors
Yoga and Pilates
Gentle forms of yoga and pilates are excellent for seniors because they focus on strengthening the core and stretching the body. Yoga is becoming increasingly popular for everyone in America, older adults included. Yoga and other balance-improving exercises can help seniors feel more stable in daily life.
Get outside, stroll, hit up a large indoor space like a shopping mall, and take advantage of smooth terrain. Daily walks are an ideal part of any routine after retirement. If retirement has left you with idle time, use it to explore your neighborhood on foot. If you’re not used to walking much, start small and set goals to walk further over time.
Dancing is a great way to exercise! You can turn on the radio and dance like no one is watching, sign up for ballroom dancing, or try a dance-style workout like Zumba. Get your heart pumping to the beat. There is something special about dancing with other people. The mental health benefits of dancing often exceed those of other comparable activities. It’s just fun! Humans were made for dancing!
Daily stretching is a great way to keep joints and muscles working their best. You can improve and regain flexibility at any age. Our community members love serene morning stretches to get the blood flowing and start their day feeling their best. Many seniors report that stretching makes a significant difference in their daily aches and pains, making stretching a great way to reverse the effects of aging. Try a simple stretching routine like the one here to get started.
Weight and Resistance Training
You may think of them as warm-up exercises, but now they’re the main event! Use your own weight to build your strength with 10-15 minute strength-building sessions a few times a week. Some old standbys, like pushups, may not be a good fit for older adults who don’t have an established exercise routine. If you’re building a new resistance workout, start with familiar exercises like:
Swimming puts less stress on joints and allows a fuller range of motion than gravity, making it an excellent option for seniors. Join your local pool for a senior lap swim or get moving with water aerobics. Swimming offers a variety of options so that you can enjoy the pool your way.
Gentle Cardio, like brisk walking, cycling, or jogging, is a classic way to tend to your heart and body. According to the CDC, thirty minutes of gentle cardio a day creates a buffer against a variety of health concerns that can appear in older adults.
From senior softball to rec bowling, team sports can keep you motivated to show up and keep going. You run farther with a buddy. Team sports are a classic way to meet new people and commit to regular exercise.
Anyone who has lived through a winter in the midwest knows that yard work can be cardio. Whether you’re shoveling snow, raking leaves, sweeping the porch, or pulling weeds, you can multitask and score some exercise with your chores.
Exercises for Most Seniors to Avoid
Every athlete is different, and some of these exercises are perfectly fine for seniors with an active fitness routine, but some exercises come with an increased risk of injury for older adults. In general, seniors should avoid exercises that stress the spine, move significant amounts of extra weight, or pose the potential for a fall. Some exercises for seniors to avoid include:
Keeping Seniors Moving in West Seattle
Daystar Retirement Community in West Seattle supports and continues healthy lifestyle habits so that our residents can continue to thrive. Contact us to learn more about options and availability! We cannot wait for you to see our stunning campus and meet our fantastic staff and residents.