Posted on Oct 23, 2019, 1 p.m.
The most important tip may be to pick an activity that you enjoy, research shows that you will be more likely to stick with an activity that you like, and if you do this with a friend or group this promotes support, encouragement, and strengthens the bonds of friendship while improving overall health and well-being.
About 65% of older Americans do not get the recommended amount of exercise. If you are one of those that just keeps putting it off, you may need some social motivation to help you get moving again. The secret to getting started on the path to the benefits of exercise is sharing it with friends. Joining a group workout is more enjoyable and far more motivating that doing it alone. Friendships are responsible for a higher quality of life at any age, and joining a group offers increased rewards in the form of social connections. Grab a friend and get started, you will love all of the benefits of these exercises that all ages can do.
Water exercise/aerobics is a popular and low impact way to have fun and it will get movement into your busy schedule, as a plus it is often done in groups. Outside classes are typically conducted in the summer months, but many community centers and facilities with an indoor pool offer these classes all year long. This type of workout can help to improve reaction times that decline with age, and improve overall cardiovascular health. While in the water your body will feel lighter which makes this an ideal workout for those with joint issues who are looking to make connections in a stress free environment while improving health.
Bicycling is not just an activity that is a throwback to younger years, this is another fun way to exercise with a friend/group that can be done outside on the open road or in a park, or inside on a stationary bike in a low key spin class. Cycling is easier on the knees and ankles that some other forms of exercise while still helping to boost your cardio capabilities and lung capacity. Doing this activity with a friend can provide a unique way to improve health while getting out to see the world and share new experiences together. You can even take this a bit further by looking for bicycling tours to join in your area for added fun.
What is more fun than dancing? What’s more is that you don’t have to be an expert or even be light on your feet to make a positive change in your life. This activity is a great way to make new friends as you will quickly get to know all of the other dancers in your group. Ballroom dance styles from the waltz to the cha-cha focus on smooth movements that will help to boost our coordination while being naturally social. Ballroom dancing is an effective way to have fun, improve flexibility, and regain balance while making friends at any age.
Zumba combines the fun of dancing with exercise. If you think this is just for younger people, you are wrong and missing out on much fun as many senior community centers can’t keep older adults away from this activity. This dance/exercise class is popular in all age groups as it is friendly to beginners while still offering the challenge your body needs to remain limber over time, plus the upbeat and happy environment has a group to join that will cheer you on while you wiggle and have fun.
Tennis can be played one on one or with a team in a doubles match. This leisure sport is enjoyable at any age, in addition to helping you get some fresh air and increasing your range of motion while playing with other people. Some call it the ultimate social event. Why not grab a partner and schedule yourself a standing tennis date to have fun and experience your relationship grow as you both enjoy the benefits that playing tennis can provide such as improving overall fitness level and sharpening hand eye coordination that can be lost later in life.
Dr. Nicholas DiNubile, Vice President of the A4M, an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine, best selling author, keynote speaker, and one of our medical editors who is dedicated to keeping you healthy in body, mind and spirit, puts tennis on the top of this list as it provides numerous health benefits such as aerobic and anaerobic fitness, agility that helps with fall prevention, hand eye coordination, strength, and longevity more than most other fitness activities.
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This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement.