Not feeling especially inclined to get out of the house and exercise? While knowing how beneficial routine exercise is to preventing heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and cognitive decline, for many older adults, it may take an extra little nudge to slip on the sneakers and hit the gym. Don't miss these 6 creative fitness motivators for seniors:
Easier (and Free) Access to Equipment
Ramping up to power through a fitness routine may seem easier with free access to gym classes and equipment. Enter SilverSneakers, a unique free membership program subsidized by the health insurance industry which provides free access to seniors at over 13,000 participating gyms across the United States. Also on the rise are free senior and inter-generational outdoor playgrounds with walking trails and exercise equipment adapted for older adults including stationary bicycles, leg presses, and games like horseshoe.
Solving your fitness hangups with digital solutions isn't just for kids these days. From wearable fitness technology, to on-the-go fitness apps for mobile devices, like MyFitnessPal, technology is fueling an unprecedented engagement in exercise and working out. Wearable technology includes simple accessories like a FitBit bracelet or BellaBeat pendant which are worn on your body throughout they day and while you workout. They can track steps taken, heart rate, calories burned, even sleep patterns, and more.
Looking for a pal who will always be up for a brisk walk or playing outside? Forget about calling around, and instead, look down! A furry friend at your feet can play an important role in helping you stay fit and exercise regularly. Just like people, dogs need around 30 minutes of exercise a day to stay healthy. Seniors can find companionship, security, and motivation to stay active – walking, hiking, swimming, biking, and playing fetch with a friendly pooch can do just the trick. Don't own a dog? Don't worry! Offer to pet sit for a neighbor or family member, or sign up to volunteer to walk dogs at your local animal shelter.
The practice of yoga is trending big time with seniors according to a 2016 report from Yoga Alliance. The gentle, flowing movements and gradual stretching of yoga may seem more attractive to seniors who are looking for a low-impact activity that is a little easier on the bones and joints. Some yoga practice and poses can also be adapted to water or sitting down, which is handy for seniors with mobility issues. The meditation and deep breathing components of yoga practice also help seniors feel less stressed, strengthen their lungs, and potentially lower their blood pressure.
Ease of Use Tools
Some of the natural wear and tear of aging can make even day to day tasks a little bit tougher, not to mention getting out to exercise. Lightening the daily load with ease of use tools like a disability dressing aid for putting on clothes and hooking buttons or a reacher grabber tool for picking up and grabbing items things could provide that little bit of extra help during the day which prevents stress and exhaustion. Feeling more self-reliant, positive, and energized will always be a great motivator for exercising regularly.
Fine Motor Hobbies
When it comes to routine fitness, cognitive stimulation is just as important as strengthening muscles and bones. Hobbies which employ fine motor skills, like crocheting, knitting, crafting, and making origami, make a big impact on brain health. Attention to detail, concentration, learning new things, and finely employing fingers and hands helps reinforce the structural integrity of important brain cells and synapses, potentially lowering your risk for developing Alzheimer's and dementia.
Doctors recommend older adults get at least 150 minutes of physical exercise a week through low-impact activity including playing tennis, swimming, hiking, dancing, even mowing the lawn counts! Discovering the motivator which drives you to get off the couch and exercise may take a little creativity and firm dedication, but it will be worth it!