Staying Active: Advice for Seniors Seeking a Healthy and Rewarding Lifestyle

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, nearly 20 percent of the total population will be in the 65-and-over age bracket by 2030. That means Americans are living longer, and they’re living healthier as they age. It’s certainly a heartening trend, but older adults must be well-positioned to take advantage of a longer, more robust lifespan than their parents enjoyed. That means taking control of your physical and mental health (and using some technology) so you can enjoy a healthy and enjoyable quality of life – the kind you’ve earned through years of hard work. 

Healthy environment


One of the most important steps toward a healthy and active senior lifestyle is a safe, well-ordered home environment, a living space that makes it possible for you to be you without feeling restrained by fear for your physical well-being. That means arranging each room so pathways are clear and unimpeded by tripping hazards. Furniture should be arranged so you have clear passage from room to room. Cords, shoes, rugs and general clutter should be disposed of or kept in a safe storage space. And establishing an uncluttered home will alleviate stress and anxiety, leaving you better able to focus on reading, doing crosswords or jigsaw puzzles, journaling, meditating and other activities that help maintain mental acuity. 

An organized home environment also makes it easier to engage in activities that’ll help you take control of the mental and physical aspects of your life. This includes exercising. You’ll have the space you need to enjoy cardio or strength-building exercises, or you can even incorporate an exercise like yoga and achieve the flexibility and enhanced range of motion it can confer. Yoga’s many poses improve spinal flexibility, giving you a strong core upon which to build. You can even use some yoga apps that are great for beginners like Daily Yoga and Down Dog.

Branch out

To continue on an improved wellness path, try branching out into other pursuits that you enjoy, like walking and gardening, and give interesting new forms of physical engagement a try, such as Tai chi, a relaxing and meditative form of exercise that improves cardiovascular health, supports the immune system, and helps seniors improve concentration. Exercise that can be done as part of a social group is one of the best ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle, so look into group yoga, swimming or water aerobics classes that are perfect for friends to enjoy together – it’s a lot more fun when people you love being around are involved!

Some seniors find that using a fitness tracker is a great way to monitor their progress and health as they engage in new activities. A fitness tracker can measure the basics like distance traveled and steps taken, but some of the newer devices can measure more advanced metrics like your heart rate and sleep quality. Smartwatches and fitness trackers can also help keep you safe while you work out. For example, the Apple Watch Series 4 has fall detection and will give you high and low heart rate notifications. If you prefer a lower-priced option, the Fitbit Blaze watch has GPS, a large display, and a battery that lasts up to five days

Healthcare coverage


As you age and enter the Medicare system, it’s important to understand your insurance options and how to get the coverage that best meets your needs. You may be aware that there are gaps in Medicare, though you can find ways to plug the gaps with Medicare Advantage, which provides dental and vision insurance, in addition to membership access to fitness facilities across the country. Do some research about plans available to learn more about various types of coverage and whether you could benefit.

Educate yourself

Few things engage your mind quite like learning about a subject you find really fascinating. Many seniors enjoy going back to school by enrolling in free online classes at local community colleges or online universities. Colleges in all 50 states offer such opportunities and many seniors are even able to earn degrees by taking advantage of free courses. Continuous learning keeps the brain active and healthy in many ways. In fact, your brain grows new cells and establishes new connections every time you learn something new. For older adults, learning strengthens memory and sharpens problem-solving abilities. In many cases, it even helps stave off the debilitating effects of Alzheimer’s and dementia. 

Social engagement

Studies have shown that older adults benefit significantly from regular social interaction. Spending time with friends is emotionally reinforcing and provides opportunities for physical activity (e.g., golf, walking) as do mentally stimulating games like bridge, bingo, Sudoku, chess and checkers. If you enjoy music, look into joining your church choir or a community-based musical group. 

There’s really no secret to leading a healthy mental and physical life as an older adult. Staying active is the key, and that can be difficult for many seniors. The important thing is to find ways to start small and build gradually, with the help and advice of a healthcare provider. You should have every expectation of enjoying a rich and fulfilling life as you age – after all, 65 is just a number.

Jason Lewis

is a personal trainer and the primary caretaker of his mom after her surgery. He created strongwell.org and enjoys curating fitness programs that cater to the needs of people over 65.

14 thoughts on “Staying Active: Advice for Seniors Seeking a Healthy and Rewarding Lifestyle”

      1. My sister has a brain tumor, but even before that, she was not active. Right now, we don’t know how surgery will leave her. She lives across the country so not near.

      2. I’m so sorry, Jolie 🙏 Sending prayers your way hoping for a succesful surgery 🙏🙏🙏

  1. I agree with the points you mentioned in the post. And btw nice post keep up the good work. Would be interested to have more from you.😊

  2. I do agree with all the points you have mentioned. Heath is the most important aspect of life no matter what’s the age. it is so important to keep healthy.Good Post with valuable information.Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us. I really appreciate. All the very best for future.

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Lower Back

The Erector Spinae is not just one muscle, but a bundle of muscles and tendons. Paired, they run more or less vertically. It extends throughout the lumbar, thoracic and cervical regions, and lies in the groove to the side of the vertebral column.

Latissimus Dorsi

The latissimus dorsi is the larger, flat, dorsolateral muscle on the trunk, posterior to the arm, and partly covered by the trapezius on its median dorsal region.

Deltoids

The Deltoid muscle is the muscle forming the rounded contour of the shoulder. It is divided into three portions, anterior, lateral and posterior, with the fibers having different roles due to their orientation.

Infraspinatus

The Infraspinatus muscle is one of the four rotator cuff muscles crossing the shoulder joint and is commonly injured. It is the main external rotator of the shoulder joint.

Biceps

The Biceps brachii is  actually two separate bundles of muscles (heads). The two heads of the Biceps vary in length and as a result, are called the Short and the Long Biceps heads.

Triceps

The Triceps Brachii muscles  have three muscle heads: Lateral, Medial and Long head. Primarily responsible for the extension of the elbow joint. The lateral head is used for movements requiring occasional high-intensity force, while the medial fascicle enables more precise, low-force movements.

Forearm
(Anterior muscles)

The Pronator teres pronates the forearm, turning the hand posteriorly. If the elbow is flexed to a right angle, then pronator teres will turn the hand so that the palm faces inferiorly. It is assisted in this action by pronator quadratus.

Forearm
(Posterior muscles)

The Extensor Digitorum muscle helps in the movements of the wrists and the elbows. It extends the phalanges, then the wrist, and finally the elbow. It acts principally on the proximal phalanges. It tends to separate the fingers as it extends them.

Pecs

The pectoralis major makes up the bulk of the chest muscles in the male and lies under the breast in the female.

The pectoralis minor is a thin, triangular muscle, situated at the upper part of the chest, beneath the pectoralis major. 

Abs

The Rectus Abdominis is the most superficial of the abdominal muscles. It is this muscle which forms the six-pack shape! It is a paired muscle running vertically on each side of the anterior wall of the abdomen. There are two parallel muscles, separated by a midline band of connective tissue called the linea alba.

Obliques

The External Oblique is situated on the lateral and anterior parts of the abdomen. It is broad, thin, and irregularly quadrilateral. It is the largest and the most superficial (outermost) of the three flat muscles of the lateral anterior abdomen. 

Glutes

The gluteal muscles are a group of three muscles which make up the buttocks: the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus. The three muscles originate from the ilium and sacrum and insert on the femur. The functions of the muscles include extension, abduction, external rotation, and internal rotation of the hip joint.

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Quadriceps

The Quadriceps Femoris is the knee extensor muscle.  As a group, the quadriceps femoris is crucial in walking, running, jumping and squatting. It´s subdivided into four separate “heads”.

Hamstrings

A hamstring is any one of the three posterior thigh muscles in between the hip and the knee (from medial to lateral: semimembranosus, semitendinosus and biceps femoris). The hamstrings are quite susceptible to injury.

Lower Leg

The gastrocnemius and the soleus form what we know as calf. They are involved in activities such as walking, running, jumping… 

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Trapezius

The trapezius is a broad, flat and triangular muscle. The muscles on each side form a trapezoid shape. It is the most superficial of all the back muscles.

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