Staying in shape is key to maintaining good health. Regular exercise is great for your overall well-being—particularly if you have a sedentary job or are on your way towards retirement. However, no matter where you are in your life, it’s never too late to get up and moving. And as you approach your 60s, an active lifestyle becomes even more important. After all, exercise can reduce your risk of heart diseases, help you manage your blood sugar and insulin levels, improve your mood and mental health, and of course, strengthen your muscles and bones.
With these benefits in mind, it’s important to start thinking about how you can incorporate physical activity into your daily life. Unfortunately, the gym isn’t for everyone. It can be downright intimidating, too impersonal, and in some cases, highly inconvenient. On the plus side, there are other creative ways to get your blood flowing and get that heart pumped. Here’s how you can work towards better health as an individual in your 50s—without relying on the gym.
Mixed Martial Arts
Mixed martial arts is one of the most unique ways for people in their 50s to get active and learn a lifelong skill that takes great detail and precision. MMA offers a variety of benefits to older adults; in addition to helping them maintain great physical fitness, they’ll also learn how to be present and alert, and can improve their self-dense.
You may be thinking that MMA isn’t an option for you due to physical barriers, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, some classes are specifically designed for seniors, and great instructors know how to push the body to its maximum potential without compromising the body’s health and integrity. There’s also a strong sense of community and passion in the mixed martial arts scene, and you’ll be happy to learn a centuries-old discipline seped in history. To get started, conducted a Google search for “MMA gym near me” to get in touch with local mixed martial arts instructors.
You don’t often associate gaming with exercise, but the Wii Fit was designed to get people off the couch and moving. This interactive gaming system has a simple user interface, making it easy for anyone to learn. Additionally, with exciting at-home exercise entertainment, it’s a much more flexible way to stay active at your own pace and schedule. And for those that want ways to connect with volunteers, children, and grandchildren, it can help bridge the generational gap and offers a social component. In addition to physical activity, they also provide you with some fun mental stimulation.
The Wii Fit comes equipped with a balance board that allows you to track your movements. Using data collected as you play, it will send you personalized recommendations, monitor your weight and fitness levels and provide you with feedback on your progress (which helps reduce the chance of injury as you go alone). Games you can play on it include yoga, strength training, and balance games.
Water aerobics offers a wide array of benefits for anyone, but is particularly effective for older adults and seniors. This is because tough exercise on well-worn bones can cause pain and accidents in some cases; thanks to “buoyancy” (the upward force on a person), an individual has up to 90% less body weight while in the water. This creates a very low impact water workout that’s still highly effective.
Water aerobics can help you alleviate joint pain and many of the symptoms associated with blood circulatory problems and arthritis. It also helps improve flexibility and heart and lung functions. And because water resistance is much stronger than air resistance, you’ll burn more calories than you would with a typical gym workout. And of course, during the summer months, you’ll get some much-needed connection with the sun and can breathe in fresh air. Alternatively, there are many community centers with pools that host indoor water aerobic sessions, so you can benefit from these exercises throughout the year.
Why not combine the health benefits of physical activities with the drive to learn a new skill? That’s what dancing can offer you. According to one study, dancing is particularly beneficial for seniors because it helps them improve their gait and balance. By boosting postural control, you can reduce the risk of falling. As you improve your coordination, you’ll also get a great cardioactive workout—while meeting other seniors with similar interests. And the best part is, after you’ve learned a complete routine, you’ll feel accomplished knowing you worked towards a goal and improved your health in the process.