Many people mistakenly think that older people should slow down and become less active as they age. The thought is that less activity decreases the risk for accidents that can result in injuries. It is true that older people tend to be more susceptible to injuries, but it is also true that regular physical activity offers significant health benefits at all points of life. It may even help to reduce the risk of an accidental injury. The key is not to decrease activity but to modify it according to your individual needs to make it safer.
Increasing your activity can be difficult, especially if you have lived a sedentary life for some time. However, if you and your spouse or partner can start on this path together, you have a better chance for success. Activity is often more fun when you have someone to share it with, and the two of you can be accountable to one another for sticking with the plan you have made for yourselves. Here are some tips for adopting a more active lifestyle as a senior couple.
Choose Activities That You Enjoy
If you and your partner enjoy weightlifting or aerobics, by all means, work more of these into your daily routine. However, don’t feel that these are things you “have to” do to get some physical activity. The definition of exercise is much broader than that and can include many activities that you would choose to do for recreation anyway. For example, you could start looking for ways to finance swimming pools if you enjoy frequent laps in the water. Other examples of enjoyable activities that qualify as exercise include dancing, golf, and bowling, to name a few.
Join a Senior Group
You and your partner might have even more fun if you get together with a larger group offering physical activities. This is an opportunity to get out of the house and start making new friends. There are many senior fitness groups available, and one advantage that they offer is that they are often tailored specifically for the needs of older people.
Modify Your Activities
Regular physical activity helps to improve endurance, flexibility, and strength, each of which can help you avoid injury. However, it is important to tailor your activities to your abilities, especially if you have health limitations that you didn’t have when you were younger. For example, if you were an avid runner in your youth, you may not be able to keep it up if you develop arthritis. You may need to switch to a lower-impact activity, such as walking or bicycling.
However, you may not only need to make modifications to make activities less rigorous. There may be ways to increase the exercise you get from activities you are already doing. For example, if you play golf, maybe you could walk the course instead of riding around in a golf cart. You may have to play nine holes instead of the usual 18, but you may still end up getting more exercise than you would otherwise.
This doesn’t refer to your ability to move your body, although this is likely to improve with more exercise. Sometimes people don’t get enough exercise because they feel stuck in a rut from doing the same thing over and over. Try to keep things interesting by varying your routine. Play 18 holes of golf with a golf cart one day and nine holes walking the next. Learn different types of dancing. Try yoga instead of aerobics. Whatever you can think of to make things a little more interesting, try it.
Don’t feel that you and your partner have to be joined at the hip. You may have different interests, and a little time apart can be healthy for your relationship. Therefore, it is perfectly acceptable to have some activities that you do separately. However, it may be helpful to choose at least a few activities that you can do together.