As we get older, our bodies undergo many unwanted changes; physical and mental. It is important to adapt in order for us to enjoy our mobility and clear headedness for as long as possible. It can seem like a tedious undertaking to some, but there are many fun ways to get your mental and physical exercise in the way that fits you best.
If you prefer to be in a group of people for extra motivation and camaraderie, contact your health insurance provider. ‘Tivity Health – Silver Sneakers’ insurance plan provides seniors with free community fitness programs across the US. ‘Trivity Health’ is not the only source, many insurance companies offer exercise incentives for seniors.
Your local gym might also have discounts, although that usually is the priciest option to take part in training programs.
A free alternative would be meet-ups and community centers. Check your local community listings, or even step up to the challenge to create your own community group, if one does not yet exist.
Some of us prefer to exercise in private, yet have someone push and challenge us. If you need the extra motivation and do not quite know how to get that workout in, a virtual training routine is for you. You get a tailored program that you can follow, which oftentimes also includes nutritional guidelines to achieve your goals. Most exercises can be customized to the equipment you have inside your home. There are various options based on your price range; from a daily to do list all the way to live video workouts with your trainer. Keep in mind that most programs require medical clearance prior to starting.
If you prefer to exercise by yourself at your own pace, there are countless videos online that show you how to work out from home using things like, couches, benches, chairs, as well as other household items for training equipment. They are easy to follow and do not require a big investment. Your best resource is youtube with catered videos specifically targeting your age group. The video shows you the correct form, but there is no trainer to tell you if you are actually doing it correctly. Those of us prone to injury might want to invest in a few paid personal training classes, just to get an idea of a good routine and correct posture. It is an investment, but it avoids the risk of injury.
Trainer or not, always listen to your body and modify your training to your comfort level.
No matter the intensity of your workout, always put safety first by having a plan in case an injury occurs during your exercise routine. Keep your phone on you and let loved ones know of your plans to train. Always consult with a doctor prior to starting or changing your workout routine.
We all age, it is inevitable. Mental deterioration is just as noticeable as physical; especially to the ones that know us. It is hard to say which one effects us more; being clear minded and immobile, or fit like a spring chicken, yet struggling with our memory, and day to day tasks.
Here are a few tips to maintain and boost your mental health.
The power of being connected to other people is quite amazing. Socialization helps us stay emotionally happy. It triggers cognitive responses not activated when we are alone. Think of it as a stress relief tool. There are many ways we can meet new people with minimum effort:
Join a book club – Reading is great, but reiterating what you have read is even better.
Community groups for seniors – Get in touch with local seniors in your neighborhood.
Volunteer – Give a helping hand and meet new people at the same time.
Join a walking group – Get your exercise in and socialize.
Dance groups – Dust off that old pair of dancing shoes and get to it.
Game night at your local community center – If there is none yet, be the one to suggest one.
Knitting and crocheting – Boost your brain and your motor skills.
Puzzles, Painting and Specialized Electronic Applications
If you prefer to boost those memory cells while getting some needed alone time, you can do so over a puzzle. This activity triggers both sides of your brain hemispheres to work in unison, which helps boost your brain function.
Painting is not only a way to express yourself, but art is truly therapy. It releases stress and anxiety, along with helping your brain’s creative side. It enhances coordination and motor skills. Adult coloring books are a great alternative should you be new to painting.
If you prefer the use of electronics, there are many games that can be downloaded to your electronic device that serve the same functions. The easiest way to find them is a google search listing your specific device; iPhone, for example.
Meditation can not only help calm and sharpen the mind, but it can also help relieve stress, reduce blood pressure, and fight off inflammation. It is a great memory tool; it helps boost both, the short and long term recollection. It takes some time and dedication to fully emerge yourself in this practice, but the results will be very satisfying in the long run. If seated meditation is not for you, try taking yoga, qigong, or tai chi classes. The benefits are the same, but all three forms also include mindful body movements.
by Anna Kurzer