The athleticism and determination shown by participants in the recently-concluded 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo certainly wowed the millions of viewers who tuned in for the events - but there’s no need to be a world-class athlete to reap the numerous benefits of physical activity.
Exercise confers numerous benefits for seniors - including strengthing muscles and bones, improving balance, boosting energy, and can even help to lessen the risk of developing conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Medical professionals recommend getting at least 20 to 30 minutes of activity daily to stay in shape mentally and physically; finding an activity that inspires and motivates you will make regular participation more likely, so check out this list for ways to stay active in all seasons, or try one or more of the suggestions below!
- Take a brisk walk to increase your heart rate - along with your endorphins, or those “feel-good” chemicals your brain produces during a workout. Stroll through one of the many picturesque neighborhoods or parks in Schaumburg or another nearby suburb, or make your way to one of Cook County’s numerous forest preserves. You might even find yourself sharing the woods with some unique wildlife at Elk Grove Village’s Busse Woods! For residents of Schaumburg’s Friendship Village, there is no shortage of walking options on the vibrant retirement community’s scenic, nature-filled 60-acre campus. Need some added motivation? Grab a health-tracking device and track your steps!
- Yoga is a wonderful way to stay limber, improve flexibility, and center the mind; the ancient practice can also relieve stress, boost heart health, and ease back pain and arthritis symptoms. With its focus on healthy aging, it’s no surprise that Friendship Village’s state-of-the-art fitness center includes a yoga studio with a wide variety of class offerings for all skill levels. National Yoga Month is just around the corner, so it’s the perfect opportunity to give it a try.
- From simple laps to water-based exercise classes like those offered at Friendship Village’s resort-like pool, swimming is a highly beneficial, low-impact form of exercise that can burn more calories than running or biking! Spending time in water can also confer numerous other mental and physical health benefits, such as decreasing anxiety and depression, increasing strength and flexibility, and boosting sleep quality and lung capacity.
- Got a competitive streak? Join an indoor sports league and enjoy basketball, volleyball, badminton, bowling or another rousing activity. There’s also still time for athletes over 50 to train for the National Senior Games; registration for qualifying events in Illinois for the 2022 Games - including swimming, bocce, table tennis and golf - began in August, with most qualifying events taking place in September. Friendship Village offers its own version of this spirited competition, called the Silver Games, and staff are looking forward to bringing back this treasured tradition this fall!
- Go for a bike ride. With numerous bike trails in and around the Chicago area, it’s a fantastic way to get a workout in while enjoying the great outdoors.
- In addition to cardiovascular and aerobic activities to get the heart pumping, strengthening activities can also play a key role in maintaining good health. If you don’t have weights, you can make your own using readily available household items such as water bottles or soup cans!
With so many options available for all skill levels, there’s no better time than right now to jump start your physical fitness routine, or rejuvenate it by trying something new!