Yoga or Tai Chi
These gentle, no impact exercise methods are fantastic and scalable to any audience. They can be simple or challenging, but primarily work on range of motion and flexibility through a series of active or passive static poses. These forms of physical exercise are fantastic because no special equipment is required, no weights are used, and the focus is on slow, controlled movements.
Dancing is a fantastic cardiovascular activity and is available in a broad range of styles. From ballroom to tap, square dance to line dancing, seniors can enjoy a wide variety of dance styles solo or with a partner. Many classic dance styles do not require great speed or strength, but do help exercise our coordination, balance and range of motion.
Whether learning a new skill or practicing an existing one, playing music on an instrument such as piano, violin, guitar, flute, etc., is an amazing way to exercise the brain and sharpen cognitive skills. Listening to and playing music helps reduce stress and improves your mood. Whether you are a senior at home or in residence, building a small band that meets regularly will exercise your brain, dexterity and social skills!
Card Games and Board Games
Not only do card games and board games often lead to social opportunities, but they also test our abilities. Classic games like poker, euchre, chess, and Scrabble provide cognitive challenges that require us to recall memories, develop strategy and implement long-term planning. If a group setting is not an option, games like Sudoku, crosswords, and word searches offer many of the same challenges for a single player.
This type of task-oriented exercise is perfect for those in rehabilitation situations following surgery, or for those who are slowly losing certain functionalities due to chronic disease, like arthritis. Functional exercises are practical movements that you do in order to regain or maintain a specific physical function. Practicing walking up and down stairs for instance, sitting to standing a few times from the couch, or even picking out dried beans from a bowl of rice if you want to improve or maintain your fine motor skills. Kegels are a great addition to the list, as are calf raises and simple un-weighted arm raises. No matter what you are recovering from or trying to maintain there is probably a functional exercise available that requires no special equipment but can help you on your way.
Many seniors face challenges that prevent them from going outside, but there are many engaging activities that improve health and wellness suitable for indoors. Branch out into low-impact fitness like yoga, learn a new skill like an instrument or perhaps a craft, encourage yourself to work on improving a necessary skill, like hand-eye coordination, through functional exercises, or test your cognitive abilities and practice your strategy skills through gameplay!