A Whole Year of Fun
Older Adults Have Plenty of Ways to Stay Physically Active
By the National Institute on Aging
There are lots of fun and simple ways to build exercise into your daily routine. It’s easy to come up with ideas for activities to do with your family and ways to stay active in all four seasons.
Spending Time with the Family
Being physically active with your family is a great way to stay healthy and make exercise fun. Whether you play team sports with the entire family or take brisk walks with your spouse, child, or grandchild, you’ll be rewarded with improved health and time spent together. Here are a few activity ideas for you to do with your grandchildren:
Infants and toddlers:
• Take them for walks in the stroller and rides on your bike. Don’t forget your helmets.
• Play games that get your bodies moving, like wheels on the bus, pretend we’re animals, and hide and seek.
• Sign up for baby yoga or exercise classes.
• Try baby-friendly swimming classes.
• Walk to the park and push their swing.
• Jump rope together.
• Build a fort — indoors or out.
• Play catch, kickball, basketball, or soccer.
• Go swimming or biking together.
• Play a video fitness game together and see who wins.
Teens and young adults:
• Participate in activities that interest them. Try hiking, skating, or tennis.
• Go golfing or swimming. Invite them to join you in physical activities that require two people, such as tennis or ping pong.
• Ask them to help you in the garden or with heavy-duty household chores.
Be Physically Active Without Spending a Dime
You don’t need to spend a fortune to be physically active. In fact, you can be active in many ways without spending any money. You don’t need special exercise equipment other than comfortable walking shoes. Here are a few ideas to help get you moving for free:
• Make your own weights from household items such as soup cans or bottles of water.
• Try out free demonstration exercises classes at your local senior center or fitness center.
• Go for a hike in a park.
• Participate in community-sponsored fun runs or walks.
• Yard work such as raking, digging, and planting can keep you active.
• Make sure to drink water or juice after exercise.
Find Ways to Stay Active in All Four Seasons
Being creative about your physical activity plans and trying new forms of exercise can keep you motivated by preventing boredom. A change in seasons is an excellent time to be creative about your exercise routine and try something new. There are many ways to be active throughout the year.
• When your grandchildren visit, head outside to build a snowman together or go ice skating.
• Cold outdoor temperatures are an excellent reason to join a mall-walking group.
• Start the new year by trying out a fitness center — many offer New Year’s resolution specials.
• Give your heart a Valentine’s Day gift with dance lessons, such as salsa, tango, or belly dancing.
• As the temperatures start to get warm, get your garden ready for spring and summer. The lifting and bending you do when gardening are great for strength and flexibility.
• A bike ride is a great way to enjoy the warmer temperatures.
• Anything can be fun with upbeat music, including spring cleaning.
• Build your endurance and strength with a bike ride during National Bike Month (May). Remember your helmet.
• Swim laps or take a water-aerobics class. These are both refreshing once the weather gets steamy.
• Walking in the mall is a cool way to beat the heat.
• Now that the grandchildren are out of school for the summer, ask them to teach you their favorite sport or physical activity.
• Celebrate National Bowling Week the first week in August. Get friends and family together and challenge each other to a friendly tournament.
• If you’ve heard about the benefits of yoga but haven’t tried it yet, National Yoga Awareness Month (September) is a great time to find special events and trial classes for beginners.
• As the weather begins to cool, join an indoor sports league, such as basketball, handball, or bowling.
• Fall provides great opportunities for physical activity. You can take long walks to see the beautiful fall colors. Once the leaves have fallen, raking is good exercise.
• If you have holiday shopping to do, walk the entire mall each time you’re there.