Successful aging and staying fit go hand-in-hand, but as we age it’s easy to do less and less until doing anything is just plain difficult. But in the Blue Zones, where people routinely live to be 100 years and older, staying fit is an ongoing part of life, simply because they never really slow down. Centenarians in the Blue Zones share many of the same daily routines and tasks that allow them to maintain a level of fitness not seen in other parts of the world. To have a great shot at successful aging, consider these fitness tips that we know work.
Blue Zones Fitness Tips for Successful Aging
Do it yourself – Older adults often relinquish some of the household chores they did when young simply because they perceive getting older with getting weaker. But by continuing to do things like sweeping, vacuuming, cleaning, washing windows, and yard work, we can actually maintain fitness and burn calories as well. In the Blue Zones, people live simply and do for themselves and others as a matter of routine, giving them an edge on successful aging throughout their lives. For a rundown of what there is to gain (or lose!) from doing it yourself, and other fitness tips, check out the hivehealthmedia.com blog, “10 Household Cleaning Chores That Get You Exercise.”
Lift it – Getting older isn’t for the weak! It takes strength to keep life fun and fulfilling, so building strength is one of the essential fitness tips for successful aging. In the Blue Zones, lifting is part of everyday life around the home, farm, and community, but for the rest of us, lifting weights is one way to make up the difference and build strength. In the Blue Zones article, “Anti-Aging Benefits of Strength Training,” author Marilynn Preston explains what weight lifting has to offer, and beginners can get weightlifting fitness tips from any of the many YouTube videos for seniors.
Drive less – Driving is an American pastime, and one that, while beloved, isn’t necessarily conducive to successful aging. So rather than getting behind the wheel for every excursion, take one of the fitness tips from the Blue Zones and walk or bike instead. In the Blue Zones, people routinely walk or pedal to the market, to visit friends, and to other destinations throughout their lives, no car needed. And the benefits of walking and cycling include better balance, strength, agility, and heart health, to name a few. To begin a walking routine, try the healthinaging.org article, “Tip Sheet: Walking For Older Adults.” For great biking fitness tips, check out the ahandtohold.com article, “10 Benefits of Bike Riding for Seniors.”
Get in the swim – One of the most common reasons older adults have for not exercising, is the fear of getting hurt, falling being among the most common. But that reason is easily set aside with swimming. Even fragile older adults can reap the many successful aging benefits of exercise when in a pool or lake where there is no stress on joints but just moving against the water is good for the heart, muscles, bones, flexibility, strength, and mental health. Whether swimming laps, joining a water aerobics or dance class, doing water resistance exercises or playing a game like water polo, older adults have little to lose and lots to gain from swimming every day. For fitness tips about making the most of time in the water, read the Harvard Health Publishing article, “Exercising in water: Big heart benefits and little downside.”
Try Tai Chi – While all exercises are good for the mind as well as the body, tai chi encompasses body, mind and spirit through slow dance-like movements adapted from the martial arts. This very low-impact exercise aids successful aging by reducing stress (a well-known source of health problems) through meditation, improving physical heart health, strength, and balance, and may even help diminish pain from arthritis. And Tai Chi requires no equipment and very little space so it can be practiced just about anywhere and is often performed in groups so there is the added benefit of socialization. For a deep dive into Tai Chi, the forbes.com article, “Health Benefits Of Tai Chi For Seniors,” offers a wealth of information and fitness tips including how to get started with Tai Chi.
Getting exercise every day is truly crucial to successful aging and at Sonrisa Senior Living, we make it easy and fun for our residents. To learn more about all that Sonrisa has to offer in amenities, housing choices and services, contact us today. We’ll help you find the perfect retirement solution!