Fun Ways for Older Adults to Stay Physically Active

It doesn’t matter how old you are, spending hours sweating yourself healthy in the gym is neither fun nor easy. Sure, it makes you feel good and, once you get into a good rhythm and motivate yourself, it’ll get easier. Regardless, those first few steps and making that regular commitment can feel like a chore.

You don’t need treadmills, spin classes, and dumbbells to stay fit and active, though. There are many ways to get your weekly allotment of exercise without going anywhere near a gym.

Get a Dog

Firstly, you should never buy or rehome an animal just to get a little exercise. Dogs need lots of attention and love, and they shouldn’t be looked at as a simple excuse to get some fresh air.

At the same time, if you are an animal lover that needs some companionship, go for it! Give a dog a home and be sure to walk it every day.

When you’re feeling down in the dumps and are struggling to motivate yourself to exercise, the dog’s persistence will be all the encouragement you need. How can you look into those pleading puppy dog eyes and not succumb to their every whim?

Play with Your Grandkids

Kids have boundless energy and can run and play all day without getting tired, so take advantage of that by joining in with their playtime.

Games like hide-and-seek, the floor is lava, fort building, and any kind of pretend play will give you a daily dose of exercise without putting your body under too much strain.

The older they are, the harder it will be to keep up. Eventually, you’ll need to move from games of hide and seek to games of soccer and basketball, but as long as you find your level, stick with it, and don’t push yourself too hard, you’ll be okay.

Play Some Video Games

When you think of video games, you don’t really think about exercise and fitness, but once you strap on a VR-headset or grab a pair of Switch Joy Cons, you enter a different world, sometimes quite literally.

You can simulate games like tennis, golf, archery, and much more, and you can even partake in aerobic classes and shadow boxing. It’s great fun, and the time will fly by, making it easier to get through your workout.

It can feel a little strange, especially if you’re new to video games and have never experienced virtual reality or motion capture, but you’ll get used to it very quickly and it will become second-nature in no time.

Borrow some tech from your kids or grandkids or pick up a used machine on eBay. Systems like Playstation VR, Nintendo Switch, HTC Vive, and Oculus all have mobility-based games, some of which are focused entirely around fitness. You can also buy much older machines for a lot less money, including the Nintendo Wii.

Go on a Hike

Slip on your best boots, grab your thermals, and head for the hills! Hiking is a great way to get regular exercise and lots of fresh air, and it will keep you busy during the Fall and Winter. It’s probably not a great idea in the summer, especially if you live in a hot climate, but if you’re prepared with lots of water bottles and sunscreen, you should be okay.

If you live in a built-up area, head for the beach or the park instead. 

Buy a Bike

Cycling is a great way to exercise, as you can vary it from low to high intensity and take your bike anywhere. If you’re just getting started, go for a short ride around the block, but if you’re looking for something more strenuous, head for the nearest trail and give it your all!

Don’t forget to wear a helmet and strap some lights on your bike. You should also consider riding with friends, as it will make the ride more enjoyable and motivate you to push a little harder.

Play Golf

Golf is the stereotypical senior sport, and not without good reason. You don’t need to run or exert a lot of force. There’s no contact involved and the risk of injury, exhaustion, and other similar problems are very low.

During the average round of golf, you will cover more than four miles and burn over 800 calories. It’s also great fun and the perfect way to get some fresh air, sunshine, and social interaction. 

Play Darts or Pool

Pub games like darts and pool may not be the first things that come to mind when you think about exercise, but if you’re very unfit or have mobility problems, they are great ways to keep you moving for extended periods of time.

The constant throwing and thrusting actions followed by regular walking, whether it’s to and from the board or around the table, will simulate a short, light walk. It’s easy to play for hours without feeling like you’re doing anything.

Play Ping Pong

If games of darts and pool are not enough to get your heart pumping, try ping pong instead. It’s a much higher intensity game, but it still takes place on a single table and can be played with one other person. You can choose the level of intensity and skill, so it’s a game that adapts to you. 

Take up Gardening

Get those green fingers out and start planting some flowers, growing vegetables, and cleaning things up a little bit.

Gardening is a great way to get regular exercise. There’s always something that needs to be done, whether it’s planting seeds, nurturing seedlings, harvesting crops, or weeding. In other words, it’ll keep you busy all year long. When you finally see those plants bloom and start harvesting lots of fresh and delicious food, it’ll motivate you to keep going.

Drink Plenty of Water

Whatever exercise you do, make sure you drink plenty of water during and after, especially if you’re exercising on a hot day. A little juice is okay after exercising and coffee or tea may help before, but don’t drink too many sugary drinks throughout the day. Instead, supplement your diet with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables to make sure you get the nutrients you need.