Surprising Ways to Keep Senior Citizens Active

Published: 22/11/2019

Article written by Chathurika Kahavita -

Surprising Ways to Keep Senior Citizens Active


It is only natural for elderly individuals to become slower as they age. Although it may be difficult for seniors to move around, it is important that they continue to be active. This isn’t just detrimental for their physical health, but also for their emotional wellbeing.

It is estimated that the average senior citizen is sedentary for about 10 hours a day. This puts them at a higher risk of falling, developing heart disease, becoming overweight, and even early death. On the contrary, older individuals that exercise more often can reduce their chances of developing dementia, depression, heart problems, type 2 diabetes, and even certain cancers.

Of course, when trying to get elderly individuals to exercise, you are faced with several obstacles. To begin with, they may simply be unenthusiastic about moving around. Or, they could have physical limitations that are preventing them from exercising. Well, regardless of what the issue is, here are some surprising suggestions on how to keep seniors more active:

Volunteer for a Good Cause

These days, an increasing number of retired individuals are volunteering. This makes sense because this portion of the population has more time on their hands than most. There are a number of physical benefits for older individuals who do want to volunteer.

For instance, many programs don’t require seniors to do too much work. However, it will help them stay on their feet and move from one place to another at least several times a week. This will be a great boost to those that find it rather difficult to get up and about and can’t engage in too much exercise.

Best of all, volunteering can be a huge emotional boost for older individuals. They can feel useful and interact with people their own age as well as younger individuals. So, it works out well for everyone involved.

Set Up a Garden at Home

Pottering around a garden can do an older individual good. This is especially true if you are trying to get them out of the house, but don’t want to tax them too much. It is important to remember that a regular garden may not be suitable for someone who can’t bend or who has mobility issues. Thus, you will need to design one that is more adaptive.

If someone can’t bend, consider setting up raised garden beds. You can also place plants in smaller pots and hang them on a wall for even easier access. It is a good idea to set up stools in various spots so that they can sit down when they get tired.

In case an elderly person has issues with arthritis, then it is a good idea to consider specialized tools. Look for ones with softer handles or that don’t need as much of a firm grip. This can ease their discomfort and increase their mobility all at once!

Get a Dog

As mentioned, one of the reasons that seniors avoid exercise is that there is no motivation anymore. The older people get, the less inclined they may be to care for their own health. However, they will still be keen on taking care of someone else’s. This is where getting a dog can come in handy.

Dogs need to be walked at least once a day and so, an older individual will feel obliged to take them out. This, of course, will automatically result in them getting some exercise. If an individual isn’t too stable on their feet, you may want to consider getting a pooch that is trained and registered. A service dog can help with mobility issues while simultaneously encouraging an older person to get out more.

If the seniors are unable to care for the pup themselves, they can always sign up to walk a dog at an adoption shelter. Or, they can help out a neighbour that has to work and doesn’t have time to take their dog out. Either way, spending time with a dog will definitely work in their favour.

Set Up a Walking Contest

For most senior citizens, jogging and running are out of the question. Nonetheless, walking is still possible and it is an excellent form of exercise for all ages. If this can seem a little boring to some, though, there is an excellent way to spice things up. Try and host a walking contest!

This idea actually works on a few different levels. The event itself allows seniors to get into the competitive spirit. At the same time, it can also help to exercise a little more, leading up to the competition. After all, each participant will need to train.

It doesn’t have to stop with a walking contest. Any kind of competition that will keep seniors moving will work well. Thus, this is something that can be held on a regular basis, with lots of fun activities included.

Sign Them Up for a Seniors Dance Class

There are many kinds of dances that are very low impact. So, as long as things move a little more slowly, most seniors will be able to keep up. They will also be getting a moderate amount of exercise. So, you should look for a class at the local community centre or even consider hosting one at home.

Keep in mind, the class shouldn’t necessarily just focus on learning alone. At the end of the day, what’s most important is that elderly individuals get some exercise and have fun at the same time. Therefore, you may want to avoid signing them up for anything that may seem too serious or competitive.

As you can see, exercise for elderly individuals doesn’t have to fit into a particular box. The key component is that the activity should keep senior citizens mobile for extended periods of time. Of course, the activity needs to be safe as well. As long as it meets these criteria, the opportunities for keeping older individuals active are endless. So, if you are caring for someone who has trouble moving around, these are some ideas that you should consider.