Staying active should always be a priority – especially when you hit retirement age! Regular exercise slows the aging process, works out the mind and body, relieves stress, and keeps the immune system in tip-top shape. Moving to a retirement community or assisted living is no excuse to put an end to the activity and/or exercise. There are plenty of ways to stay active in 55-plus communities, and they do a great job of accommodating the needs of seniors who enjoy physical activity. See below for ideas!
- Go for a walk or a jog. Most 55-plus communities have walking trails or some sort of paths around the premises. If there isn’t already one in place, maybe you should form a club! Set a time two or three days a week (or as often as you want!) to meet up at a designated area and do some power walking! It’s a great exercise, a great time for catching up, and a great way to meet others.
- Bocce ball! Ever played? It’s super easy and super fun. You can find bocce ball sets online just about anywhere. Try Target, Sears, DICK’S Sporting Goods, etc. Get together a group of people, find a grassy area and it’s game on! You can even set up a round robin tournament to really get people into the competition.
- Got Wimbledon fever? If your community has tennis courts, go check them out! Tennis is a great workout for young and old. It’s a total body exercise and also greatly strengthens the legs and arms. Grab a friend or three (for a doubles match) and get a rally started. You don’t have to play like the Williams sisters or recreate a Federer/Nadal match. Just have fun volleying the ball back and forth across the net!
- Staying active doesn’t necessarily have to mean that you are working out your muscles and sweating up a storm every day. Staying active can be as simple as getting on your feet and volunteering a couple of times a week. Talk to someone in charge of community outreach or activities at your community to see if they have any ideas. You may want to suggest helping out in the library or the kitchen. You can help stack books or help serve meals. What about organizing a talent night where residents can perform and even invite family members to come show off their talents? That planning and preparation will certainly get you up and active!
- Swimming, like tennis, is a FABULOUS workout for people of any age. It’s a very low impact sport, so you won’t be feeling the aches in your bones and the strains in your joints. It’s also a very cathartic exercise and can really help you to stave off stress. Do some laps, grab a kickboard and do some kicking, grab some fins to really propel yourself through the water, do some water aerobics with friends in the shallow end, etc. Even just walking back and forth from wall to wall in the shallow end is a great exercise for your legs with very little negative impact on the joints.
- Gardening, though not exactly high-intensity cardio, is a great activity that gets you up and out into the sunshine. Ask your community if there any areas where you can start planting. Some places may even have designated plots or greenhouses just for this very purpose!
No matter what it is you’re doing – swimming laps, volunteer activities, shuffleboard, croquet, corn hole – what matters is the fact that you’re getting (and hopefully staying!) active. Your 55-plus community can help you achieve this.