4 Ways Seniors Can Boost Their Physical and Mental Health

Authored by Libby Howell, a.k.a. “Gamma,” Grandparent.info

There has never been a more important time to take care of your own health. The Annals of Internal Medicine found seniors who exercise spend 25 percent less time with an injury or disability. Doctors and researchers agree that taking the time to stretch your muscles and move can lead to a longer and happier future. Even more, your physical health is directly tied to your mental health — building muscles and raising your circulation can lead to better sleep, more optimism, and less stress worrying about falls and accidents.

Thankfully, there are tons of ways to boost your physical and mental health. So many of them can be done from your own home. AZNHA presents some tips to get you started.

Outdoor Exercise

When we think of exercise, so many of us imagine going outside to stretch our legs. This can be a great start. The Mayo Clinic reports that walking around your neighborhood can help lower blood pressure and strengthen your bones. Even more, it can give you an opportunity to connect with your neighbors, and do so safely during these uncertain times.

It’s been well-researched that seniors who feel isolated from others see poorer health outcomes than those who interact with their loved ones and community. So when it’s nice outside, get out, wave hello, and stay involved — from a safe distance.

Indoor Exercise

Sometimes the weather simply won’t allow you to exercise outdoors. There are plenty of options to take your sweat session indoors. Look into your local community centers and gyms — most offer senior pricing and even senior-only schedules to help you focus. Whether you enjoy swimming, strength training, or stretching, there are plenty of classes and other opportunities to work out where you’re comfortable.

Gyms also boast personal trainers who can help you find the right exercises without pushing you beyond your limits. Trainers can work with you to develop a wellness plan and keep you motivated to work towards your goals, which can be just the boost you need to develop a healthy, long-term habit.

Exercise from Home

Some of the simplest exercises we can do can be completed from the comfort of our own homes, even without any fancy equipment. Body-weight training is a popular example. By performing seemingly-simple leg or arm lifts, you are strengthening your muscles and getting your heart pumping. Inhomecare.com notes that there are tons of exercises you can complete from your own space with no supervision or specialty tools, such as stretches and tai chi.

Try Technology

Nothing — not even exercise — has been able to avoid the technological revolution. If you’re struggling to keep up the momentum to work out on your own, there are plenty of options that may give you the boost you need. Virtual games like Wii Sports can read your movements and let you interact with fellow players while you play bowling, tennis, or golf.

There are also thousands of YouTube videos dedicated to helping you move, from low-impact yoga and tai chi to more upbeat aerobics classes. Silver Sneakers recommends eight apps you can download to your smartphone or tablet to serve as virtual trainers with tips on how to improve your workouts and notifications to remind you to move your body.

Technology can work beyond your physical health. In addition to apps like Headspace that can help you learn the ins and outs of meditation, you can find plenty of apps that can help you put together a healthy, well-rounded diet. Tech can also help if you run a business; for example, if you’re starting a business in retirement and want to get registered with the state, use an online formation service to save you money and time getting the paperwork filled out.

There is nothing stopping you from starting healthier habits today. It’s never too late to start! Find an exercise you enjoy and a time you can commit to. Above all, stay positive because a good attitude is the healthiest habit of all.

The Arizona In-Home Care Association strives to uphold the highest standards of quality for the in-home care industry. Call 602-283-3503 or email info@aznha.org for more information.

**Photo by Rawpixel

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