Five Tips to Make Physical Activity Part of a Regular Senior Routine

As a leading provider of senior care in the Pacific Northwest, Encore Communities places significant value on regular physical activity for its residents.

As individuals age, physical activity can play an even larger part in overall health, helping seniors to maintain the ability to function independently and even reduce the risk of falls that can lead to bone fractures. Regular exercise – even in small amounts – can also reduce the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, certain cancers and coronary disease.

“As part of our senior community programming, we develop plans for our residents that help them find exercise regimens that interest them while providing the support and encouragement they need to do so safely,” said Adam Filbey, Executive Director of Northwoods Lodge and Director of Senior Housing for Washington.

In honor of National Senior Health and Fitness Day, Encore Communities is pleased to offer five tips to help make fitness a priority for yourself or a senior you love:

Tip 1: Make exercise a social activity

For those who may not inherently enjoy exercise, adding a social component can make the experience worthwhile. Activities like a group yoga class, swing dance lessons, or even a game of pickleball can provide a low impact experience while providing healthy social interactions that combat social isolation.

Tip 2: Keep it low impact

While no two bodies work the same, a majority of seniors can find it difficult to safely engage in strenuous physical activity. That said, most forms of exercise can be modified to minimize the risk of injury. Resistance bands are a great substitute for lifting weights, while swimming laps in the pool can provide an equally beneficial cardiovascular alternative to running on a treadmill or pavement. For those with limited mobility, chair exercises can still offer the added benefit of increased flexibility, strength and even improved posture.

Tip 3: Consider active hobbies

The term physical activity doesn’t always have to mean cardiovascular or strength training. Even an activity like walking through an art museum can provide some much-needed exercise. To help get seniors up and moving, consideration of hobbies that employ movement are important. Gardening, shopping or even cooking can work wonders toward helping a senior remain in good health.

Tip 4: Listen to the body

The key to avoiding injury is to pay attention to pain. While we’ve all heard the expression no pain no gain, remaining vigilant and aware of any aches or soreness that arise in the course of exercise is paramount to avoiding injury. When pain presents itself, it’s best to slow down or stop altogether to avoid doing harm to the body.

Tip 5: Create a schedule

One of the best ways to remain active is to establish a weekly routine of activities. For many, this might include a morning walk, followed by a group activity or engaging in a hobby a few times a week. By deliberately choosing to plan exercise into a weekly schedule, individuals may find it easier to commit to and incorporate it into their daily lives.

For seniors, there is hardly a more effective way to preserve one’s health than through regular exercise. From improving circulation to preventing falls, becoming or staying active has far-reaching benefits.

About Encore Communities

Encore Communities® offers lifestyle, housing, and compassionate care choices for seniors through independent living, assisted living, memory care and short-term respite care and short-term rehabilitation. Encore Communities is proud to serve residents throughout Corvallis, Ore., Kitsap County, Wash., and the Greater Seattle area.