As we get older, it is important to keep ourselves physically active. Maintaining regular physical activity is one of the best things we can do to keep ourselves healthy and maintain our quality of life as we get older. Talk to a health professional before starting a physical activity programme to identify your limits.
Activities can range from stretching, doing some garden work, washing the car to lifting weights or engaging in yoga or tai chi. There are lots of ways to build activities into your daily routine. For example, you could do some activities while you wait for the kettle to boil or while the TV ads are on.
Engaging in moderate physical activity can bring significant health benefits including:
Gardening is a great way to get active while enjoying nature and the beautiful weather we have been having! Gardening promotes relaxation and releases chemicals in the brain that combat stress and also instills a sense of purpose and accomplishment.
If you have a garden, there are many ways to enjoy it including planting seeds, weeding and watering plants and cutting the grass. If you do not have a garden, you can even grow and tend to plants indoors.
Gardening is great for stimulating your senses and can evoke pleasant memories and most activities can be adapted to allow you to sit while you complete them.
Dancing is a really fun activity that is brilliant for improving fitness and gives you that feel good factor. Dancing has been found to improve strength and muscle function in older adults, as well as increasing balance and flexibility which leads to improved stability and fewer injuries.
Find a song that boosts your mood and gets you moving, whether it is a toe tap or a jive, and dance like nobody's watching! Dancing can be done while seated or standing and music can be a powerful tool to evoke memories!
3. Home-made active games
You can get very creative and make some home versions of sports as a way to keep active. For example, playing bowling with some empty cans and a rolled up pair of socks or tossing socks into a laundry basket can be a fun way to get moving!
4. Exercise videos
There are many online exercise videos to help you to get active at home, no matter what your fitness level is.
Depending on your fitness and current ability levels you can choose from seated tai chi classes to yoga, pilates and even dance! You can even get creative with household objects eg; use a can of beans as a weight or a pair of tights as a resistance band so long as it is safe. Make sure to choose an activity you are interested in and is at the right level for you so that you don’t find it too difficult or too easy.
Even if you have not been active for a long time, it is not too late. Start now, start slow, be safe, and most importantly enjoy yourself!
Adapted content from: alzheimer.org, dementia.ie