It’s no secret that aging has many obstacles. Whether its graying hair, mobility, memory loss, weight gain, vision loss, or decreased mental health to name a few. Going through some of these inevitable changes that naturally occur can be overwhelming and defeating.
For this reason, it is so important for seniors to stay active at home. To combat the negative effects that anatomical and psychological changes may have on our loved ones we can encourage them to stay active and engaged.
A study at Hebrew University Medical Center and Hebrew University Hadassah Medical School reported that seniors who do any amount of exercise appear to live longer and have a lower risk of disability.
Why Seniors Should Stay Active at Home
Staying active can not only reduce the risk of chronic illnesses and diseases, it can also promote cardiovascular health, increase strength and bone health, better sleep, and many more life improving benefits.
Physical activity seems to help your brain not only by keeping the blood flowing but also by increasing chemicals that protect the brain (mayoclinic.org). Physical activity also tends to counter some of the natural reduction in brain connections that occurs with aging.
This is why staying active is so important for not only aging adults but friends and family. By doing so, not only can you help your significant other or family member to stay active and engaged, it’s a great way to spend time with one another.
Keep reading to learn what activities seniors can do at home to stay healthy and happy!
Stop and grow some roses! There is no better way to promote positive mental health than by growing your own garden.
Who doesn’t enjoy smelling beautiful flowers or eating fresh herbs and vegetables that you grew with your own hands?
Gardening can be a great way to spend time with friends and family. Making it a social hobby can be especially beneficial for people struggling with isolation or depression. Connecting with people as well as mother nature can bring lots of joy, energy, confidence, and Vitamin D!
Connecting your breath to your body is a lot more challenging than it may seem. Experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety can cause us to hold our breath and tense our muscles. By practicing yoga, you can stretch out all those tense muscles while reducing cortisol levels.
Yoga can increase mobility, balance, blood circulation, and mental focus just by practicing a few poses once a week. In fact, it made our list of one of the top exercises for seniors. You can dedicate 30 minutes to an hour of practice any time, anywhere. This is a wonderful way to realign and connect with your body.
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According to the CDC, 1/3 of Americans over the age of 65 will experience a fall during the year😓 •Falls are the #1 cause of fractures, 🏥 admissions for trauma, loss of independence, and injuries that lead to death☠️ * The qualities necessary to balance in yoga postures such as becoming grounded, finding one’s center, staying focused, and steadying the mind can translate in everyday activities in life! Poses Proven to Build Better Balance: 1. -Down Dog How to Perform: Stand facing the base of the chair. Inhale and lift arms overhead. Exhale and place hands on the chair’s base (bend knees if needed). Slowly walk the feet backward and lift the hips until the down-dog position is obtained. To get out of the pose, slowly walk the feet forward to where the body is in a forward fold. Roll the body up one vertebrate at a time to return to a standing position. Regression: Place hands on the back of the chair. 2. -Tree Pose How to Perform: Stand next to the back of the chair with the chair on the right side of the body. Place the right hand on the chair. Rotate the left leg away from the body and either place the heel above the ankle, or the entire foot on the calf muscle. Lift the left arm overhead and hold. Repeat on the opposite leg. Progression: Let go of the chair. 3. Foot to Seat pose Focus: Stimulates single-leg while practicing a stepping motion How to Perform: Face the side of the chair. Place the left hand on the back of the chair and step the right foot onto the seat of the chair. Keep the right hand on the hip or lift the right arm over head. Hold and repeat on the opposite side. Regression: From a seated position, lift and hold one leg at 90 degrees. 4. Triangle Focus: Enhances balance in a unilateral stance How to Perform: Stand sideways next to a chair, with feet 3 to 4-feet apart. Turn the toes of the foot farthest from the chair 45 degrees; point the toes of the other foot toward the chair. Inhale and raise the arms to shoulder height. Exhale and reach the arm closest to the chair to rest on the seat or back of the chair, depending on your level of flexibility. Hold and repeat on the opposite side. Progression: Look up toward the ceiling.
Although you can practice this hobby with zero equipment, you can always purchase a yoga matt and blocks for extra support. Not sure where to start? Now a days, there are thousands of instructional videos through DVD, Youtube, and Apps to guide your session.
Senior yoga focuses on slow movements, and gentle breathing. Check out our recommended yoga video below from Yoga With Adriene.
3. Cooking and Baking
A healthy diet is shown to boost immunity, mood, and overall well-being. So why not learn how to cook and bake your own delicious meals at home?!
Your senior years is a great time to develop your cooking and baking skills. This is especially handy when considering dietary restrictions like gluten, dairy, and sugar.
Cooking is not only practical, but it utilizes memory, mathematics, and creativity which keep the mind sharp. Throughout a meal, seniors will find themselves bending, stretching, and moving throughout the kitchen keeping their bodies active. The best part? The end result is a satisfying meal and a full tummy!
If you’re going to cook, why not learn to cook foods that will help stave off the negative effects of aging? Check out our article detailing the top foods for anti-aging.
4. Video Gaming
Seniors playing video games? Crazy, some may say. But in the 21st century, even senior citizens are getting into the fun of modern video games.
Though elderly folks aren’t rushing out to buy the latest Call of Duty, more and more seniors are playing video games. In fact, the number of adults age 50 and older who play video games has increased from 40.2 million in 2016, to 50.6 million in 2019. You may think video games rot the brain, but an AARP study found that older adults are using gaming to “connect socially, stay mentally sharp, reduce stress, and just have fun!”
the number of adults age 50 and older who play video games has increased from 40.2 million in 2016, to 50.6 million in 2019
While some seniors are keeping up with the youth by enjoying the latest counsel and computer video games, many are opting for slower, simpler titles available online and through phone apps.
For a list of AARP recommended senior online games, visit this great resource provided by guideforseniors.com.
5. Make Something Cool (Jewelry, Art & Crafts)
Creativity is a major source of pride, joy, and entertainment for people of all ages. Why not use your golden years to learn a new skill, or develop an existing one? While it’s probably not a brand new concept, creating art and other cool things is one of the most rewarding activities seniors can do at home.
Instead of “settling down”, more and more seniors are choosing to learn skills and trades they had dreamed about their whole lives. This includes jewelry making, creating a work of art, crafting, learning an instrument, knitting/sewing, and so much more.
These skills are important for mental stimulation at a time when seniors are experiencing more isolation than ever. Many of these skills like crafting and music can even be performed in groups inside and outside of the home.
Sandyside Senior Living
This information was provided by Sandyside Senior Living in White Lake, Michigan. Sandyside specializes in advanced care for seniors with dementia, Parkinson’s, MS, and all age-related illness.
Interested in learning more about Sandyside Senior Living? Contact Sandyside online, or call at (248) 698-3700.
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