5 Tips for Staying Fit at 55+

When it comes to healthy aging, quite honestly, there’s a lot to do. You’re supposed to make sure to keep your body active and your brain engaged all while maintaining your social connections as well. Sure, the benefits to your overall well-being are worth the effort, but retirement is supposed to be a time with less responsibility on your plate, right? Well, it turns out that in senior living you can have your cake and eat it too, so to speak. Here’s how programs like our Vivid Life make keeping active, engaged, and connected easy and fun! 

Benefits of Healthy Aging 

Good things happen when you focus on healthy aging. In addition to feeling better overall, which in and of itself is a win, other benefits of keeping active, engaged, and connected include:  

  • Improved ability to do everyday things ​ 
  • Reduced impact of illness and chronic disease​ 
  • Enhanced mobility, flexibility, and balance
  • Improved sleep
  • Increased energy level
  • Reduced feelings of depression and stress
  • Increased feelings of happiness and self-confidence
  • Reduced risk of cognitive decline 
  • Increased mental adaptability and cognitive reserve 
  • Improved memory recall and problem-solving skills 
  • Improved concentration and attention to detail  

How Senior Living Can Help 

At home, particularly when living alone, it can be hard to stay as active, engaged, and connected as you’d like. From lack of opportunity to lack of motivation to lack of transportation to mobility challenges, and more, it’s tough, we get it! That’s why we created the Vivid Life program in our senior living communities. It’s composed of three parts: Vibrant Body, Vibrant Brain, and Vibrant Connections. Here’s what each entails:  

Vibrant Body We offer amenities such as a state-of-the-art fitness center, a pool, walking trails, gardening opportunities, and even a dog park to help you stay active. A sample of activities includes:  

  • Walking club – Daily walks at different outdoor locations using pedometers to measure steps. 
  • Yoga – At least once per week for gentle yoga, and once per week for mindful breathing. 
  • Fitness classes – At least two times per week using a variety of hand weights, resistance bands, and circuit-type exercises. 
  • Tai Chi – At least once per week with a live instructor. 
  • Non-traditional exercise – Dancing, gardening, etc. at least two times per week. 
  • Physical games and sports – Golf, putting, bowling, croquet, bocce, and ping pong available daily with organized events one to two times per week. 

Vibrant Brain We offer monthly calendars filled with classes, events, creative arts, and enrichment opportunities to help keep you engaged. A sample of activities includes: 

  • Visiting lecture series – Twice per month with topics such as cultural, historical, local interest, career-oriented, etc. 
  • Creative art series – At least one per week with a theme that runs 3-6 weeks, such as poetry writing, storytelling, painting, digital photography, etc. 
  • Learning series – At least three times per month with an emphasis on learning something new such as foreign language, sign language, technology, hobbies, etc. 
  • Games – At least one time per week and may include poker, bridge, Scrabble, etc. 
  • Mindfulness – A meditation class once per week and gratitude discussion group twice monthly. 
  • Church service – At least once a week through visits by local churches. 
  • Stress reduction – At least once per month class that offers deep breathing exercises, nature walks, music appreciation, spa-type treatments, etc. 

 Vibrant Connections We offer resident-led clubs, social events, outings and volunteer opportunities for any interest to help you stay connected. A sample of activities includes: 

  • Outings – At least twice per month and may include going to concerts, art shows, museum visits, theatre productions, etc. 
  • Intergenerational programming – At least once per month and focuses on building relationships between young adults/children and residents. 
  • New resident welcome party – At least once per month to formally introduce all new residents, and includes ice breakers, social games, etc. to encourage connection. 
  • Philanthropic program – At least once per month provide residents the opportunity to give back to the community, such as volunteering for a local food bank or pet shelter. 
  • Resident-led clubs – May include game clubs, professional clubs, common interests, etc. that meet at least monthly.  

What’s more, it’s all right outside your door (or transportation is provided offsite) and all in a supportive environment with home maintenance, housekeeping, and restaurant-style dining freeing your time to make it even easier to stay active, engaged, and connected. 

Learn more about Vitality Living’s Vivid Life programs. Or find a Vitality Living community near you today to schedule a tour. 

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It’s certainly no secret that exercise is important to our health, yet the fact remains that only 1 in 4 adults in the United States get enough, according to the CDC. What’s more, about 31 million adults aged 50 or older are inactive, which is defined by the CDC as getting no physical activity beyond that of daily living; this is a bigger risk than you may realize. Here’s how staying fit benefits you even more as you age, along with tips to get you started exercising.

Benefits of Staying Fit at 55+

If you’ve never been particularly physically active you may ask yourself, why start now? Well, the good news is that research has found even starting to exercise later in life still provides benefits that include:

  • Increased life expectancy – Exercise does so by not only reducing the risk of things like heart disease but also slows the aging process at a cellular level.
  • Better control of diabetes – The amount of glucose in your blood is reduced by exercise and it also helps slow more severe symptoms of the disease like nerve pain and kidney disease.
  • Lower risk of depression – When you exercise, your body releases endorphins and neurotrophic proteins which not only make you feel good short-term but also result in the growth of new nerve cells and connections as well.
  • Increased strength – Exercise that includes strength and conditioning helps to keep your bone density at healthy levels, improves your balance, and gives you more stamina to keep up with those grandkids!
  • Better sleep – It’s common for good sleep to be more elusive as you age, but exercise can help not only by making you more physically tired but also by providing stress relief as well.
  • Lower risk of dementiaThe Alzheimer’s Association reports that there’s a link between physical activity and cognitive performance that suggests exercise, specifically aerobic exercise, is an effective way to reduce cognitive decline later in life.
  • More social connections – Maintaining relationships can be harder as you age. Exercising provides opportunities to meet new people through classes or at the gym and can even help you stay connected to neighbors and friends through walking or running groups.
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Exercise Tips to Get You Started

Whether you’ve never consistently exercised before or you’re interested in changing up your routine as you age, these tips can help.

  1. Check with your doc – Before beginning any new exercise routine, we recommend checking with your doctor to see if you have any restrictions due to medications or chronic conditions.
  2. Know what’s recommended – The National Institute on Aging (NIA) recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity throughout the week in sessions of at least 10 minutes duration.
  3. Vary the type of exercise – The NIA also recommends that weekly exercise time be spread across four categories: endurance, strength training, balance, and flexibility. Check out examples of each that you can try at home here.
  4. Don’t forget the before and after – To give your muscles a chance to get ready and to help prevent injury, make sure you spend about five minutes before and after you exercise to warm up and cool down.
  5. Have fun – The truth is, you’re more likely to continue exercising if it’s something you enjoy, so look for ways to make it fun by incorporating it into things you already love doing, using it as a social opportunity, listening to music, audiobooks or podcasts while you exercise, and/or rewarding yourself when you achieve new goals.

Check out our Active Adult Decision Guide to learn more. Or, contact us today to schedule your virtual tour!

 

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