On Your Health

Check back to the INTEGRIS On Your Health blog for the latest health and wellness information for all Oklahomans, published three times a week.

Stages of Life: Staying Active After Sixty

Staying physically active in your sixties and beyond can get tough, but with grandkids to spoil and more personal time to enjoy, taking advantage of every opportunity to stay fit is extra important. In 2014, Oklahoma ranked fifth in the nation for highest level of physical inactivity in adults and had 163,000 seniors older than 65 classified as obese.

Everyone is familiar with the go-to activities for seniors: biking, swimming and yoga are great low-impact options, while tennis and walking also amp up the cardio. However, if you don’t necessarily enjoy these activities, don’t force yourself to participate. Often, the hobbies you already enjoy require some level of physical fitness. The key is focusing on what you enjoy and what you can maintain.

Hit the water to get fit

Heading out to the lake can be ideal not only for your mental health, but your physical health, too. What were once your favorite hobbies can now be enjoyed as a way to build stamina, raise your heart rate and strengthen muscles and bones. Whether you enjoy reeling in big ones from the dock, taking the boat out on the water and letting the wind catch your sails, or paddling leisurely around the lake, remember that you’re doing your body a favor, too.

As the days get longer and warmer, it’s the perfect time to head out to one of the many beautiful lakes in Oklahoma. Whether you’re fishing, sailing or rowing – enjoy the water and get a workout at the same time. Just don’t forget your sunscreen!

Keep it green

woman gardening

Prefer staying on solid ground? Make the garden or the golf course your playground. Studies have shown that gardening can not only improve mood and cognitive function, it can also relieve stress and decrease anxiety. Even better, gardening can also be a mild form of cardio exercise for seniors that promotes physical coordination, flexibility and strength into older age.

Hitting the golf course for nine or 18 holes involves plenty of walking. Because of the nature of the game, it’s a great way to be active for a longer period of time. Forego the cart, drink plenty of water, and remember to stretch thoroughly afterward.

Pick one new activity to try

Although it’s important to find a physical activity that you enjoy enough to do it consistently, mixing it up every once in a while isn’t a bad thing. Try a salsa dancing or two-stepping class. Build a raised bed for your garden or a playhouse for the grandkids. Remember that even in your sixties and beyond, health professionals recommend at least two and a half hours per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity.

No matter which activities you enjoy, don’t forget that regular walking and simply attending social events and get-togethers are both important for both mental and physical health. There’s no better time to get out there and have fun!

To learn more about living a healthy life at every age, browse our Stages of Life archives. For free programs, classes, activities and more, check out the INTEGRIS Third Age Life Center, celebrating 30 years of serving Oklahoma seniors.

Stages of Life Senior Adult Infographic

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