10 simple, fun ways for older adults to stay active


10 simple, fun ways for older adults to stay active

If you exercise on a regular basis, keep it up. If not, it’s never too late to pick up where you left off or start a new routine.
Building exercise into your daily habits is vitally important, though, to overall health and to help maintain independence and mobility as you age.
Inactivity, on the other hand, can increase the risk for falls and diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and depression.
“Staying active is probably the single most important thing you can do for your health as you age,” says Tidelands Health family medicine physician Dr. Roxanne Latimer, who provides care at Tidelands Health Family Medicine in Murrells Inlet. “Being inactive can really impact your mobility as you get older, which puts you at higher risk for falls and injury.”

Lots of benefits

Regular exercise can help you feel better, improve sleep, build stamina, boost memory and often results in better blood sugar and cholesterol levels, Dr. Latimer adds.

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“There is so much you can do without even leaving the house to improve fitness, muscular strength and mobility,” Dr. Latimer says. “Chair exercises or walks around the block can make a difference. You can slowly build up your muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness.”

Simple, fun ideas

Need some ideas on how to get moving? The National Institute on Aging suggests these 10 fun and simple ways to stay active:

  • Hike in the park
  • Walk briskly through your neighborhood
  • Do yard work or gardening, which includes raking, digging and planting
  • Take a water aerobics class or routinely swim laps
  • Join a bowling, handball or pickleball team
  • Walk around the mall’s interior perimeter
  • Lift weights (you can use books or cans), use resistance bands or practice yoga to improve strength
  • Incorporate balance activities like walking backward, standing on one leg or using a wobble board
  • Walk or bicycle to stores and restaurants instead of driving
  • Try ballroom or salsa dancing

One great resource within the community is the YMCA of Coastal Carolina, which offers classes and other fitness opportunities for people of all ages at its locations throughout the region.
Tidelands Health is the exclusive health system partner of the YMCA of Coastal Carolina, including Claire Chapin Epps Family YMCA in Myrtle Beach, Tidelands Health Pawleys Family YMCA and Tidelands Health Georgetown Family YMCA. Together, the two organizations are providing the community with access to a broad variety of services and programs to improve health and wellness.

'Every little bit helps'

Adults ages 65 and older should receive at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, two days a week of muscle strengthening and activities to improve balance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends. For beginners, even five minutes of activity each day has benefits, and you can build on that over time.

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“Every little bit helps,” Dr. Latimer says. “Everyone must start somewhere. Even if you’ve put it off for years, it’s never too late.”
Before beginning a new exercise routine, it’s a good idea to consult with your health care provider, who can help you develop an individualized plan that considers your unique health needs and conditions.

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