Later in life, it’s important for us to remain active. Continuing physical activity keeps our minds alert, extends the life we have left, and keeps our bodies feeling and working better. However, it’s not easy to justify a gym membership or a personal trainer when you’re living on a fixed income. What are some good ways to remain active in our later years without breaking the bank?
Going for a stroll
This is an easy one to start with: just walk more. Walking is a good way to burn some calories and get your blood pumping without jarring impacts to your joints, and it’s free! It’s also a good source of stimulation for your brain because it guarantees a change of scenery. Enjoy the fresh air in your lungs and the sunshine building vitamin D through your skin (don’t forget sunscreen!). Try changing your route and your destination and challenge yourself to walk a little further each time you go. It might be good to let someone know where you’re planning to go and bring your phone in case you get lost.
Getting A Pet
Adopt a pet from the local animal shelter and you’ll get more than just a loyal companion. Taking care of an animal will give you a reason to get out of bed and get things done every day. A dog will motivate you to walk more or practice throwing a ball, while cats love to play with you for the low cost of a piece of string. Petting animals has been shown to be good for your physical and mental health, and you can tell your pet anything — they won’t judge you. That’s on top of the traditional reasons for owning a pet, like home security or hunting pests. Be careful not to get a dog that’s too energetic for you, some of them can pull pretty hard on the leash.
Splash Around in the Water
Another great low-impact exercise is swimming. Get down to the city pool and do some laps, join a water aerobics class or a water polo team, or just float around with some pool noodles and have a good time. It can be a good social experience or something to do by yourself, and it’s also another good way to get some sun on your skin. Swimming is a great workout for your core and your lungs, but be careful not to go beyond your skill level.
Tai Chi in the Trees
A time-honored exercise for seniors in Asia is Tai Chi, and you can see people practicing in the early hours in many parks around the world. Tai Chi is a great slow-moving routine that focuses on deep breathing, flexibility, and gentle strength. YouTube videos and other sources of instruction are easy to find for free if your local park doesn’t already have a group with a teacher, or you can take a formal class for a low fee.
Dancing is a great excuse to get dressed up, listen to great music, and spend some classy time with a partner (or meet a new one). Work on your rhythm and keep your back and legs in better shape as you move around the dance floor. It’s guaranteed to be quality social time, and learning some new moves is good for your brain too. Ballroom and other dance styles are popular almost everywhere these days, lessons are cheap, and there’s almost always a club or an open floor where you can practice your new moves for free.