Why Seniors Should be Active & 32 Fun Activities for the Mind & Body
Seniors who are entering the golden age of their lives should not feel that it is a time to refrain from physical activities. To the contrary, it is important that these individuals are participating in stimulating activity that is considerate of their age and health. In addition, entertainment for seniors should be more than several hours a day, stuck in front of the television. In this article, we’ll take a look at some ways seniors can stay active and entertained. Hopefully prolonging their life and mental health.
Why Seniors Should Stay Active
Physical Activity Helps Seniors Stay Independent
The National Institute on Aging’s article Exercise & Physical Activity says “Being physically active can help you continue to do the things you enjoy and stay independent as you age… Experts say that older adults should be active every day to maintain their health.” The article noted simple activities such as walks or taking the stairs when possible and the account of a woman named Greta who took a low impact aerobics class designed for seniors.
How Much Physical Activity do Seniors Need?
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people 65 years and older, who are generally fit and have no limiting health conditions follow these minimum guidelines for important health benefits:
150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity like brisk walking plus 2 or more days of muscle-strengthening activities
75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity like jogging, running and biking plus 2 or more days of muscle-strengthening activities
An equal mix of moderate and vigorous aerobic activity plus 2 or more days of muscle-strengthening activities
Why Healthy Entertainment is Important
When it comes to entertainment, we should inspire senior citizens to do more than watch television! Why not encourage reading, playing games or walks to nearby parks for free entertainment. Playing games, at any age, is healthy for the mind and body. For seniors games are an especially great pastime. They keep the brain active, involve social interaction, and are a good, inexpensive form of entertainment. Studies have shown that playing games may help prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, which means that playing games could actually allow the elderly to live longer and prolong their quality.
32 Fun & Healthy Activities for Seniors
- Tai Chi
- Water aerobics
- Fitness classes like Zumba
- Golf (no cart)
- Lawn mowing
- Virtual Video Games- Wii or XBox Connect games like virtual bowling, tennis, golf
Muscle Strengthening Activities
- Exercise bands
- Weight machines
- Hand held weights
- some Yoga activities
- some Tai Chi activities
- Calisthenic exercises (body weight exercises)
- Gardening (lifting, carrying, digging)
- Field trips to museums, sporting events, concerts & shows
- Outdoor excursions - picnics in the park or walks through botanical gardens
- Classes & workshops at the local library - painting, computer, sign language, writing
- Comedy shows
- Celebrity impersonators
- Strategy games - chess, checkers, backgammon
- Card Games - Bridge, Rummy, Canasta
- Boardgames - scrabble, trivia pursuit, bingo
- Interactive games - Pictionary, Heads up
- Crossword Puzzles
Use Common Sense
It’s safe to say physical activity and stimulating entertainment can prolong the quality of life for seniors but more than anything, when considering activities for seniors, we want to use common sense and consider necessary health precautions. Home care professionals may consider researching safe exercises and activities that can be done at home with the individual they’re caring for.
Understanding the need to keep seniors fit and productively entertained is crucial. Hopefully, this article has provided some great healthy physical activity and entertainment options for seniors and the elder care workers who care for them.