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10 Ways to Stay Active and Independent in Your Golden Years

Posted May 25, 2023 by Jen Yates, MS, Manager, Health & Wellness

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Physical activity is vital for a healthy body and mind. But as we age, activity helps prevent falls and other injuries while helping to keep seniors more independent.

The benefits of regular physical activity are abundant and include

  • Lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer
  • Increased strength and balance for better injury prevention
  • Decreased pain
  • Improved mood, including symptoms of depression or anxiety
  • Increased cognitive functioning to improve focus, learning and decision-making ability

The National Institute on Aging recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week, such as brisk walking or fast dancing and muscle-strengthening exercises at least two days a week. Balancing exercises such as yoga or tai chi are also important to prevent falls.

However, exercise doesn’t have to be a chore; there are lots of fun, simple ways to fit physical activity into your daily routine. Here are 10 enjoyable ways to keep you active and independent as you age. Hey, you might even meet a new friend in the process, learn something new or find talent you didn’t even know you had!

  • Sign up for a dance class, such as ballroom, tango or salsa dancing, or participate in a local play or other performance arts.
  • Get outside to do some gardening and yard work, such as pruning plants or weeding. You can even go bird-watching or take nature photography.
  • If it’s too cold outside, go window shopping at the mall.
  • Participate in water aerobics or other group exercise classes.
  • Get active with grandkids. You can go for walks or bike rides together, or play a backyard kickball or basketball game. You can even get outside in the wintertime to build a snowman or have a snowball fight with your little ones.
  • Join a pickleball, racquetball, bowling or golf league, or grab a loved one to play a game of shuffleboard, bocce ball, horseshoes or croquet. There are many active games and sports to fit your interests and abilities.
  • Don’t have a group or the right equipment for these games? Different gaming consoles now have a variety of games and electronic sports designed to keep you active—right in your living room.
  • Stay active and get your daily chores done at the same time. Spring cleaning doesn’t only have to be done in springtime.
  • Take a day trip to local museums, art shows, festivals and other educational events.
  • Volunteer at your local food bank, animal shelter, church, school or other organizations that serve the community.

Whatever your age, interest or ability, there are many more fun activities to keep you busy, active and healthy.

Always be sure to discuss any new exercise routine with your doctor beforehand, especially if you have an underlying condition. Together, you can determine the types of physical activity and amount of time that’s right for you—and possibly exercises you should avoid, if applicable.