As we age, one thing that often begins declining is our immune systems. When this happens, it’s much easier to get sick. Fortunately, there are some great ways to improve the immune system, even for older adults. One of these is through staying physically active.
But as someone ages, it can be challenging to maintain the appropriate amount of physical activity. This is a huge reason why it’s important to consider independent and assisted living communities that can encourage and facilitate an active lifestyle.
Importance of an Active Lifestyle for Seniors
Many wrongly assume that a person’s physical activity needs to decrease as they age. And while activity needs change and the same intensity isn’t necessarily required, an aging adult needs to stay active to maintain their health.
How Much Activity Should a Senior Get?
The amount of activity a senior needs is relative to a certain degree. But the CDC has laid out some great guidelines.
Adults 65 and older should get at least this much activity:
- 150 minutes of moderate-intensity workout weekly. This includes things like brisk walking or dancing. Alternatively, the senior could get 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, including jogging, running, or hiking.
- The senior should focus on building muscle and improving strength for two days per week.
- Three days per week, activities that improve balance should be incorporated into the senior’s routine.
Top 5 Ways for Seniors to be Physically Active
Staying physically active can certainly be easier said than done in many situations. This is where being part of a senior community that offers helpful amenities is a huge benefit.
Finding a dance class for a senior to join is a great way for them to stay physically active. As one ages, things like muscle control, flexibility, and coordination begin declining. All these things can increase the chances of injury. But learning to dance can help improve or at least slow the decline of these things.
Aerobics is an excellent way to stay in shape and lose weight, but this isn’t their only purpose. As one gets older, joints cannot withstand the same stress as they once could. Water aerobics allows an aging adult to get a great workout that keeps their heart and lungs healthy without the added stress on the rest of their body.
Get a Pet
This isn’t an option for all seniors. For example, some communities don’t allow pets. But getting a suitable pet is a good way to stay active if an older adult is able to. Depending on the animal, it will require a certain amount of work, like taking it for walks or cleaning up after it.
Even being a part of a community can get lonely at times. But in addition to the exercise opportunities a pet creates, they also give the senior a companion to bond with. So, not only is a pet great for physical health, it could also be great for their mental health.
Join a Workout Group
Speaking of maintaining connections, a workout group is another great opportunity for physical activity with social or companionship aspects. Many senior communities have organized events for residents to get together and work out.
That could be simply a group walk or, in some cases, an instructor-led fitness class that targets strength, balance, and flexibility.
You may wonder how a healthy diet can contribute to a senior staying physically active. And when we think about food as the fuel that keeps our bodies going, it begins to make more sense. A healthy and balanced diet is critical for an older adult’s ability to stay active. It also helps keep them healthy, which contributes to an active lifestyle.
Benefits of Staying Physically Active
One of the most significant benefits of an active lifestyle for a senior is its many health benefits. Research shows that regular exercise can lower a person’s risk of developing severe chronic conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and dementia.
Disease prevention aside, reducing the risk of injury is another massive benefit of staying active. As one ages, the risk of getting injured during slips, trips, and falls increases. But staying fit and flexible with good balance helps lower the risk of these injuries.
Additionally, the mental health benefits are very real with an active lifestyle. For example, compared to someone who lives a non-active life, the active senior will have a lower chance of battling depression and anxiety.
Finding a Senior Community that Supports an Active Lifestyle
There are many things to consider when deciding on a senior community to be a part of. One of the most crucial things is how well an active lifestyle is supported. Having a staff team who are dedicated to the health and wellness of their residents is critical.If you’re considering assisted or independent living communities in Austin, give us a call at Parson’s House Austin. Our friendly staff is happy to answer your questions and book you a community tour.