As our body ages, it gets more and more difficult to maintain a regular exercise routine. Therefore, I say stop thinking “exercise” and instill a mindset of just being plain ol’ ACTIVE!
“Every day I will move”
Just move. Just do it. Do ANYTHING!
Keep your goals simple. No matter your ailment (or laundry list of ailments), find a way to just MOVE! I have been working in the geriatric population and I’ve seen the benefits of activity for overall improvement of quality of life. Activity-based exercise is the easiest way to get in your fill of movement. Here are some suggestions:
1. House work. As you get older and your joints hurt and moving in awkward positions may become more difficult. Consulting with an Occupational Therapist in how to utilize adaptive equipment can be a great way to not only retain the ability to do your housework, but to maintain an activity that can be beneficial to your health (as long as you don’t sniff too many strong cleaners – consider switching to more natural brands like Seventh Generation). There are so many great companies out there with fun “gadgets” for cleaning AND cooking. Just the Swiffer line alone is a huge help in getting to awkward spaces.
Check out these links, just for starters. There is so much out there. Have fun with it!
2. Keep Social. Senior depression is so common, and in my opinion, understandable. However, maintaining a routine where you get out of the house (try, at least, once a week) and engaging in some sort of social activity (Bingo or other card games, knitting circles, trail walking groups, crafts, mall walkers), can not only be physically therapeutic but beneficial to your mental health. There’s so much out there for seniors of all ages, but taking the first step can be difficult. If you like crafts (or even if you don’t), call your local Michael’s or Joann’s Fabrics. They run all kinds of knitting or crafts classes for free or for a small fee. Or try Home depot or Lowe’s for classes as well. If you are concerned about transportation – ask about other participants and try and car pool. My favorite resource in the library. They have become so advanced thanks to the internet. Just call your local library, ask for the librarian and say, “I’m looking to get involved in an activity – not sure what, but maybe you can help me brainstorm”. And that’s it. Let her utilize her know how to make it happen for you. It’s her job…and you pay taxes to pay her salary, right? Use her!!!
3. Change around the furniture. Yes, please have help with you. The premise behind this tid-bit advice is to instill some change. In my experience, this has been the biggest obstacle for seniors. This “roadblock” is what keeps seniors from trying new activities and engaging in new social scenarios. Force yourself into some form of change. Try changing your lipstick color. In fact, throw out ALL your makeup and start from scratch. Go to department store makeup counter and have a woman in your age group suggest new makeup for you. I say this because many older woman are STILL wearing, not only the same makeup from 20 years ago, but utilizing the same application techniques. There are soooooo many advances in skincare and makeup. Be open to a new look that will probably make you look younger anyway!
4. Start a new tradition. We are creatures of habit, right? I know many seniors that have their “routines”. Some say, “Every morning I walk to the corner store and get my coffee and paper”. GREAT! Or maybe once a week, you and your friend meet at the diner. I see many seniors start “walking clubs”. You can especially see them walking at the malls before the stores open. How about once a week, going to the library and renting a video or taking out a book? Start that “routine” and it could lead to other activities. As I mentioned before, the library is a great resource.
What strategies have you utilized to keep yourself active? Please share your ideas below! xoxo