Many people think their 20s and 30s are the prime of life, but health and fitness are even more important as you age because of a variety of concerns that impact healthy aging. Staying active and alert can help reduce your risk, while also helping you maintain a better quality of life, an active mind and an independent lifestyle.
Tips for Healthy Aging
Stay active – The key to staying active as you age is finding exercises you enjoy. This could be working out in a gym, walking, hiking, riding your bike, swimming, doing yoga and more. As you get older, your preferences might change based on how your body feels; it’s important to be active in a way that makes you feel good. Try to incorporate exercises that improve cardiovascular health, balance and muscular strength.
Eat healthy – Many of the common ailments seniors experience can be alleviated or prevented by a change in diet. While diet cannot prevent all ailments, it can help reduce your risk for specific issues common in seniors. A few examples:
- Chronic pain and arthritis can be alleviated by an anti-inflammatory diet.
- Lower your risk of obesity and increase heart health by loading up on fresh fruits and vegetables while limiting saturated fats, salt, and foods containing cholesterol, like fatty meats.
- You can also lower your cholesterol by reducing the amount of salt in your diet.
Keep learning – While taking care of the body is important, you can’t forget about the mind. Studies have shown that learning new things can help slow cognitive decline in seniors. Challenge yourself to learn a new skill or hobby. Continue to read, learn new things and switch up your routine if you can. This will challenge your mind as you age.
Practice illness prevention – Prevention is the key to getting ahead of common complications of aging. Schedule regular doctor’s visits, get enough sleep, take vitamins and make sure you are vaccinated each cold and flu season.
Fitness opportunities for seniors in Oklahoma City
There are more than 60 health insurance plans nationwide that provide Silver Sneakers® benefits to boomers and beyond. Silver Sneakers provides free access to gym memberships, fitness classes and community events. Perhaps the best part of Silver Sneakers® is that it connects you with other seniors to help you stay motivated and excited about your health. To get started, check your eligibility and find a location near you.
Group fitness classes for seniors at YMCA
The YMCA Healthy Living Center – INTEGRIS, formerly PACER Fitness Center, offers a variety of fitness classes just for seniors to help aging members enjoy healthy activities in a comfortable, judgment-free environment.
Senior Power Circuit – Any Level
Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8 – 8:50 a.m. | Group Exercise Studio 1
Monday and Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. | Group Exercise Studio 2
Tuesday 1 – 1:45 p.m. | Group Exercise Studio 2
Senior power circuit combines cardiovascular and strength training through circuits, stationary equipment and low-impact cardio exercises. This is a fun class, designed to improve functional balance, stability, muscle conditioning, cardio and core.
Silver Sneakers® Classic – Any level
Monday and Wednesday at 11 – 11:45 a.m. | Group Exercise Studio 3
Tuesday and Thursday at 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. | Group Exercise Studio 2
This is a fun class that combines a variety of exercises designed to increase muscular strength, range of movement and activities for daily living using light hand weights or tubing. A chair is available if needed for seated or standing support.
Tai Chi: Moving for Better Balance – Any level
Wednesday at 11 – 11:30 a.m. | Group Exercise Studio 2
This traditional Tai Chi class includes eight forms that emphasize balance and flexibility. Chairs are available for assistance.
Senior Dance Aerobic – Any level
Friday at 10 – 10:50 a.m. | Group Exercise Studio 1
Dance aerobics offers a fun choreographed class with high- and low-intensity dance routines at a pace that is perfect for active older adults.
Local OKC events for seniors
In addition to fitness activities, Oklahoma City offers a variety of activities just for seniors to not only improve the body, but also the mind and spirit including art classes, language learning, sewing, creative writing and social events. For more information check out the INTEGRIS Third Age Life Center.