Exercise, like any routine, can become monotonous if done the same way day in and day out. And when you become bored with your routine, it’s easy to neglect it.
That’s why switching up your exercise habits can not only be fun, but good for you. Have you tried one of these five ways to get exercise that are perfect for seniors?
Senior Exercise Idea #1: Nordic Walking
Americans have become so enamored of all things Scandinavian, it follows that the latest exercise craze - Nordic walking - also hails from the region.
Nordic walking is simply walking while using special poles, similar to cross-country ski poles, to help stabilize your body and engage many of your muscles. Done properly, it uses up to 90 percent of the muscles in your body, compared to regular walking’s 20.
Trying this type of exercise not only provides a good cardio workout, it engages your upper, lower, and core body muscles in a low-impact way. And it’s easy to make it a social activity with friends or neighbors.
Learn more about getting started and how to choose the right poles on the American Nordic Walking Association website.
Senior Exercise Idea #2: Barre Workouts
If the word ‘barre’ conjures up images of ballerinas in pink, you’re on the right track - but this type of exercise isn’t just for ballet dancers.
Originally created in the ‘50s, barre emphasizes small, repeated motions that target your arms, legs, and core and can help improve balance.
Many barre studios have popped up across the country, but you can easily find online videos to practice at home. You don’t need any special equipment - just the back of a chair or other sturdy handhold for balance.
Senior Exercise Idea #3: Dance
Whether you have good rhythm or two left feet; whether you’ve done it for decades or can’t remember the last time you did; whether you want to work up a good sweat or just want to have fun; dancing is a wonderful way to get exercise.
Did you know dancing can burn the same number of calories as running or cycling? It can also strengthen your joints and lower-body muscles and improve balance.
The health benefits of dance aren’t just physical: Some studies have linked dancing to better brain function, higher self-confidence, and more connectedness with others.
A quick Internet search can help you find a dance studio or classes near you. Give it a try - and get moving!
You may also enjoy: Lifelong learning opportunities for Chicago seniors >>
Senior Exercise Idea #4: Pickleball
If you haven’t seen pickleball in action, it could be time to give it a try.
Pickleball has exploded in popularity in recent years (you’ll find more than 2.5 million players across the country, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association). The game can be likened to a combination of tennis and ping-pong. It’s played outdoors on a badminton-sized court, often on a tennis court.
And like tennis, pickleball can be played as fast or as slow as you like. More experienced players enjoy the quick back-and-forth of an intense game; newer players or ones who want to take it easy can still have fun and get a great cardio workout.
Pickleball courts are becoming common at neighborhood parks, but you can also find a group to join, too. Search online for one near you or use the USA Pickleball Association’s list to get started.
Senior Exercise Idea #5: Pilates
Unlike some of the newer fitness ideas on this list, Pilates has been around for quite a while - since the World War I era, in fact. But it’s only come into popularity more recently. So what is this type of exercise?
Pilates was created by Joseph Pilates, a German fitness expert, to help improve disabled WWI veterans’ physical abilities. It’s based on small, repeated motions that emphasize correct posture and movement.
While Pilates doesn’t provide a strong cardio workout on its own, it’s a perfect way to weave muscle-strengthening and improved coordination into a fitness routine.
Although the basic exercises can be done at home, the best way to learn Pilates is at a gym with the help of a class or trainer. In a gym setting, you’re likely to use equipment with names like The Reformer. But not to worry - they’re simply to help you achieve and maintain the correct posture while doing the exercises.
Take Charge of Your Future Health
A regular exercise routine is a key part of protecting your health. Planning for your future care is an important piece of that equation, too.
Have you explored the benefits a Life Plan Community - a place where you can move in as a younger adult and enjoy a maintenance-free lifestyle and on-site care as you age? Learn more about Presbyterian Homes’ Life Plan Communities and how they can help you prepare now for your future needs.