Exercising is a key part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Aside from the physical and mental health benefits, studies have shown that regular exercise may also contribute to a longer life. According to the Stanford Center on Longevity, in addition to exercise, stress management, sleep, social relationships and nutrition are all important pillars to help increase longevity.
Here are a few exercises that help support a longer and healthier life.
Studies have found that even just 10 minutes of walking per day may help lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Research has also shown that 10 minutes of walking can lift your spirits and make you feel happier—helping to also support the stress management pillar of longevity.
To start incorporating walking into your daily routine, try beginning your morning with a walk to kickstart your day, or try walking around dinner time to unwind. Make sure you throw on your best pair of workout shoes so you’re supported and comfortable during your stroll. When you feel you’re ready, increase the time of your walks to 20 or 30 minutes, increasing even more as you feel comfortable.
Sometimes referred to as meditation in motion, tai chi is a multicomponent physical exercise that helps improve balance, coordination and physical function while decreasing the risk of falls and injuries. Because of the meditative component, tai chi can also help lower stress levels. Certain gyms may offer tai chi classes, but a lot of senior centers offer these as they’re a great low-impact workout.
Though tai chi is low impact, it can become more vigorous if you’re looking for that kind of workout. If not, try incorporating a yoga practice into your routine as it’s similar but can be less demanding than tai chi.
Though not always the first to come to mind when thinking of workouts, dancing is a fun aerobic activity that can help strengthen the lungs and support a healthy heart. Not only does dancing help you stay physically fit, but it also provides social interaction—supporting the social relationship pillar of longevity. Dancing can be done anywhere and anytime, alone, with a partner or with a group! Many dance classes are available to seniors, including salsa dancing, line dancing and even jazzercise.
Digging, lifting and carrying while gardening can help strengthen muscles while also relieving stress and improving your mood. The act of tending to a garden is therapeutic and can be picked up easily by anyone, even if you don’t have a green thumb. If you’re new to gardening, start with plants or produce that is easy to grow and maintain like pansies, sunflowers, basil, mint or tomatoes.
If you’re up for it, try joining a community garden. Local community gardens are great for meeting new people and learning from more experienced gardeners.