Let’s Get Physical in 2024
New Year’s resolutions tend not to last. According to a survey conducted by Forbes Health, the average duration of a New Year’s resolution is 3.74 months.
However, January is still a good time to revisit your goals for maintaining a healthy and independent lifestyle in the coming year. As an older adult, regular exercise should be part of that plan. It can have a profound impact on both mental and physical health. Its benefits can include:
- Reductions in stress and anxiety
- Improved self-confidence
- Improved mood
- Better sleep quality
- Sharper memory/clearer thinking
- Increased circulation
- Stronger bones/muscles
- Enhanced mobility/flexibility
- Improved balance and stability
Health clubs may be a good place to start. Many offer discounts for those over sixty-five. There are also health insurance programs such as Silver Sneakers that help defray the cost of club memberships. Expert trainers can help design a custom plan that blends your goals with your abilities.
Senior living communities are another good option. Most have wellness centers and exercise rooms, with some offering a complete health club that includes a swimming pool and on-sight trainers. Whether your home is in independent living, assisted living or a dementia care neighborhood, there are classes and opportunities structured with the older adult in mind.
Residents who regularly participate in classes and individual workouts often report increased muscle tone, improved balance/mobility/posture along with decreased pain levels. Socialization is a bonus.
There are several ways to stay active, even for beginners. For example:
Seated classes and Yoga are great ways to improve range of motion, circulation, balance and stability while at the same time providing a workout with only mild exertion.
Walking – the simple act of taking a walk can make a positive difference by:
- Promoting a healthy weight
- Reducing blood pressure
- Improving joint health
- Increasing your energy levels
- Improving your feelings of well-being.
When walking outside is not possible or ideal, you may find your area community centers/ health clubs have inside tracks that provide safety and convenience.
Popular Sports for Seniors
Pickle Ball is a high energy, competitive activity that is gaining in popularity. The smaller court size reduces the running and stress on the body compared to tennis so is ideal for many older adults. Weight management and strengthened cardiovascular health are just a few of the advantages when participating in this more rigorous workout.
Golf is a wonderful way to get in a good walk and have fun at the same time. It also takes you out in the fresh air, which has benefits to your overall health – among them – better sleep and an enhanced immune system.
It is never too late to start! If you can find a physical activity you really enjoy, such as dancing or swimming, it will make the workout fun. Also, including a friend in your plans may make it easier to incorporate fitness goals into your daily or weekly routine.
Blessings and good health in 2024!