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Tips for Staying Active as You Age (and How Senior Living Helps)

According to the CDC, 31 million adults age 50 or older are inactive. What’s more, a U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that 67 percent of adults aged 60 and older are sedentary for at least 8.5 hours a day. Yet, staying active is a crucial part of healthy aging with benefits that include preventing falls as well as a lower risk of numerous diseases and even premature death. Not to mention the mental benefits such as improved mood, focus, sleep and reduced stress. Whether the disconnect lies in not knowing where to start, fear of injury, not wanting to do it alone or lack of access, we can help. Check out these tips for staying active as you age and how senior living can make it easier.

How Much Exercise Do Seniors Need?

Every little bit helps, but the goal should be at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity AND at least two days a week of strength training. Don’t worry, it sounds worse than it is! Aerobic activity is anything that gets your heart beating faster, and while 150 minutes may seem like a lot; it’s really just the equivalent of a long movie. Plus, you can break the time up across the week. For example, you could do around 20 minutes per day, seven days per week; 30 minutes per day for five days per week; or 50 minutes per day for three days per week; whatever’s most convenient.

As for strength training, that’s simply activities that make your muscles work harder than usual. 

Tips to Get You Moving

Now that you know how much time to spend, here are some tips on how to make it happen.

1. Start Slow – If you haven’t been active for a while, it’s OK to build up to those 150 minutes a week over time. Even a 5-minute walk has health benefits. Just do what you can and count any additional time you spend being more active as a win! And it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor before beginning a new exercise routine.

2. Exercise Doesn’t Always Have to Feel Like Exercise – Being more active doesn’t just mean heading to the gym. Seniors can get exercise in a number of ways whether it’s walking the dog, gardening, yard work, vacuuming, climbing stairs or even playing catch with the grandkids. it’s really about finding a way that works for you fits into your life. Pushups while brewing coffee anyone?

3. Take Advantage of Fitness Technology – Whether it’s a pedometer, FitBit or smartphone app, technology can help you track your steps, monitor your heart rate and so much more. It’s a great motivator! For example, an AARP study found that 45 percent of participating adults 50 years and older had increased motivation for healthier living after six weeks of the wearable activity or sleep tracker use.

4. Don’t Stick to A Type – Essentially, don’t just focus on one type of exercise. In addition to the guidelines for aerobic and strength exercises, it’s also important to include balance exercises like standing on one foot while waiting in line, heel-to-toe walking to get the mail or perhaps taking Tai Chi classes. To make sure you continue to have a good range of movement add in flexibility exercises such as the neck, shoulder and upper arm stretches, calf stretches and yoga for example.

Staying Active is Easy in Senior Living

If all of this seems like too much to take on by yourself, there is an easier way. Senior living communities have a range of amenities focused around physical health, as well as fitness classes including yoga and tai chi onsite to make staying active much more convenient. However, in boutique senior living you’ll get the same benefits in addition to the comforts of home, just like you’re used to! How? Because boutique senior living blends the best of both worlds: residential care in a single-family home.

Our homes feature at least 4,000 square feet of living space and are specially crafted for assisted living or memory care with just 10 to 16 residents max. In fact, many of our residents feel much more comfortable participating in our daily fitness, social and enrichment opportunities that they would in the crowded setting of a large senior living community. 

What’s more, each of our boutique senior living homes is located in a peaceful, rural neighborhood with a large, beautifully landscaped yard – several acres in some cases. So, you’ll have plenty of space, inside and out, to enjoy staying active. And with our nearly unheard of 1 to 5 caregiver to resident ratio, you’ll have plenty of motivation and support to get moving!

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For more information on how boutique senior living can help you stay active, schedule a virtual tour today or call (224) 333-6247 to speak to a Shepherd Premier team member.