Over the last few years, we have all had to become a little more creative in how we could entertain ourselves at home. Some had to cocoon, isolate, or just couldn’t get out of the house due to lockdown. Just because, restrictions are easing and we seem to be getting back to a new normal, doesn’t mean we still don’t need to find time to keep active.
Staying active and engaged is extremely important for all adults, including seniors. Staying active can help to lower the risk of many health conditions as well as improve your mood, increase confidence and enhance your ability to think, learn and make decisions.
While the weather is still not on our side and we still find ourselves indoors, it can be difficult for older adults to exercise and stay active – below are 7 fun activities to help keep you and them active.
7 Indoor Activities to Help Keep You Active
Yoga & Tai Chi
The great thing about doing yoga or tai chi is that it has been shown to reduce the risk of falls in older adults by as much as 45%. They are both great indoor and outdoor activities that help the mind, body and spirit through light exercise and motion and stretching, which can help lubricate joints and help stiff limbs.
Yoga and tai chi can also help minimize hypertension, strengthen your bones, increase balance and reduce anxiety. If you can’t find a class to go to, there are a number of great YouTube videos with an instructor guiding you through every move. If you wanted to, you wouldn’t even have to change our of your pajamas.
Baking & Cooking
Aside from enjoying the spoils of experimenting in the kitchen, there are a number of benefits to cooking and baking for your mental health. They stimulate the senses through touch and smell, you can almost enter a meditative state with the repetitive motions of mixing, stirring and kneading and it can certainly make other people happy.
Whether you follow the Great British Bake Off or have a few of your own favourite recipe’s, cooking and baking is a sure fire way to keep you active indoors.
Online Exercise Classes
Personally, I was never a fan of the gym. I couldn’t get there at a time where it wasn’t busy. There are queues for equipment, mirrors everywhere and grunting left and right. This is where YouTube comes to save the day again. There are many online exercise videos like Mr. Motivator out there that are free to subscribe to and do.
You simply, type in what you are looking for and over thousands of results will appear in a second. No queues, no grunting (unless its your own) and all in the comfort of your own home.
Knitting or Crocheting
Knitting and crocheting are popular indoor activities for the young and the old. They are therapeutic and can help provide a sense of accomplishment. These two activities can actually help keep your fingers and hands dexterous, they help reduce stress, anxiety and boost self esteem.
They are also a great way to keep you apart of the community, there are a number of charities and organisations that welcome and appreciate donations of hats, scarfs, blankets, mittens and more. While you focus on your mental health, you are also helping those less fortunate with something warm and meaningful.
Cards, Puzzles & Board Games
Activities don’t always have to be about getting your body moving. It’s important to engage the mind as well for overall good health and wellbeing. A fun and effective way for the elderly to enhance their thinking and decision making skills is to play board games, a round of rummy or tackle a puzzle or two.
Not only do they help boost camaraderie and social engagement, but they also require the elderly to use essential cognitive skills. Why not pop the kettle on and pull out the deck for a round or two?
This particular activity needs a little investment first. Have you ever heard of or played the Nintendo Wii? It’s a gaming console that gets you up and active. You can play many virtual games such as bowling, fishing or kayaking. It’s a great alternative for those who may have issues with the weight of a bowling ball due to arthritis etc. or don’t have access to transport or a boat.
My family and I have spent many good times with the Wii and there is always a great laugh to be had.
Reading is a great activity, especially for a rainy day (and we have plenty of them). Books can transport you to new places and crate feelings of adventure. Reading can provide some quiet time, whilst also exercising your mind. There are studies that have proven that reading can enhance memory function, reduce stress and promote a better nights sleep.
If you enjoy reading but would still like a bit of a social aspect, there are book clubs you can join or even create one yourself. Invite family and friends to join to discuss the latest book over a cuppa and a few sweet treats.