It’s true, there are people past the age of 70 who still lead active lifestyles. This is why, whatever the season, Activities to Keep Seniors Active are crucial.
There are members of the elderly who can still run marathons, lift weights, compete in sports, and be in a great shape despite being in their golden years.
Unfortunately, most seniors don’t have the physical build to engage in strenuous, albeit highly beneficial, exercises. In fact, seniors face a plethora of symptoms globally that prevent them from being active at all, such as shortness of breath, dulled senses, vision loss, and bone diseases.
For these seniors, they don’t have a lot of options in terms of activities to help them stay sharp. This is especially true during the summer when it’s too hot and hazardous for elders to be outdoors for extended periods. Or even winter, when it is too cold within Australia’s chillier months. Below are the top activities to keep seniors active across these months of extremes.
In this post, we will discuss four activities that will provide elders the mental and physical stimulation they need throughout the summer.
1. Performing Low-Impact Aerobics
Elders who choose to be physically active often opt for low-impact workouts.
Put simply, a low-impact aerobic workout pertains to sustained physical activities with relatively low chances of injury. These help elders improve their sense of balance, improve muscle strength, and preserve bone density — all of which contribute to lowering the risk of falls.
Aerobic exercises, in general, can also lower cholesterol levels, which can keep elders away from heart diseases.
During the summer, however, certain exercises such as extended hiking, and cycling aren’t recommended due to the outdoor conditions. That’s why a good number of elders invest in equipment such as treadmills and stationary bikes to enable them to perform the equivalent of these exercises indoors.
Elders may also opt for of indoor low-impact aerobics such as yoga, dancing, and Pilates. If they prefer swimming, then the best accessible option is to find a nearby beach or indoor pool where lifeguards are on duty.
2. Using Fitness Videos
Watching the television is one of the all-time favourite pastimes of elders. That said, it should be easy for them to embrace the idea of watching fitness videos on YouTube to diversify their indoor workout routines.
YouTube is a video platform that allows users or “creators” to publish any type of content they desire. You can find video reviews for products, software tutorials, news clips, and — of course — exercise videos for all types of audiences.
To help seniors find the videos they need on YouTube, a family member may help set up their account and subscribe them to fitness channels that target seniors.
Watching fitness videos on YouTube is an extremely low-cost activity that elders can enjoy at home during the summer months. Alternatively, elders may also watch fitness videos from DVDs, CDs, and other traditional media formats.
Just remember that even indoor exercises can be dangerous, especially for elders with existing conditions or are on special medication.
To keep them safe as they adapt to a more active lifestyle, consider investing in home care monitoring systems like HomeStay. These products work by alerting a 24/7 response team whenever a dangerous fall occurs within the household, which is detected via discrete motion sensors.
Believe it or not, plenty of elders actually enjoy video games as a means of recreation.
According to the Digital Australia 2016 report, a surprising 39 percent of people over 64 years of age play video games — be it through PC, game consoles, or mobile devices. Further statistics reveal that elders between ages 55 and 64 play around 80 minutes of video games per day.
Also referred to as “gamercising,” exergaming is the cross-breed between exercising and playing video games. These are games that require players to perform a cardio workout in order to complete a stage — usually with the help of a motion sensing accessory or controller.
Exergaming was prevalent in older generation consoles like the Nintendo Wii, PS3, and Xbox 360. There are also a handful of fitness titles for newer consoles like the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, namely Just Dance, Zumba Fitness World Party, and the FitBit Coach app.
Another advantage of playing video games is that they offer mental stimulation enough to help elders prevent the early onset of cognitive impairment, according to research. This leads us to the next all-seasons activity that every elder needs.
4. Stimulating the Mind
Physical health isn’t the only factor that can determine the safety and overall well-being of elders in the summer.
Due to hot, often arid weather, and shorter nights, it’s not uncommon for seniors — particularly those who live alone — to feel tired and lethargic during the summer season. This is called the Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD, which is a clinically recognised form of depression that affects patients under certain weather conditions.
Some of the symptoms of SAD include:
- Constant drowsiness
- Low energy throughout the day
- Loss of interest in everyday activities
- Loss of concentration
- Irritability and sour moods
- Increased carbohydrate cravings — often leading to weight gain
Apart from physical exercises, elders can also turn their attention to mentally-stimulating activities, such as reading a book, playing a board game, cooking, and indoor gardening.
Elders may also try new, creative hobbies that require good hand-eye coordination. Some examples are knitting, painting, learning how to play a musical instrument, creating handcrafted Christmas decorations, and taking pictures.
Aside from the lack of mental stimulation, SAD is also exacerbated due to too much vitamin D, which — in turn — can be caused by overexposure to sunlight. This can be improved with supplements and a healthy diet that includes milk, cheese, tuna, salmon, mackerel, and cereals.
Ultimately, elders need the motivation to commit to any of the activities outlined above.
This is where family members should step in and show their support. If you have a senior relative who has to go through this upcoming summer season alone, make time to visit and accompany them with the activities mentioned in this post.
Keep in mind that, at their age, elders only have the love and success of their family members to look forward to. It costs nothing to give them the attention they deserve every once in a while.