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The Importance of Seniors Staying Physically and Socially Active

Senior couple enjoying kayaking at Atlantic Shore senior living community

Benefits of Staying Physically and Socially Active for Seniors

Everyone can reap the benefits of regular physical activity. Regardless of your age, ability, shape or size, staying active is one of the most important things you can do for your health.

The benefits of active senior living.

Keeping physically and socially fit is easier when you’re surrounded by people, opportunities and amenities that promote an active lifestyle. At Atlantic Shores, you can keep things interesting with our diverse range of activities and adventures. You can join a group class, opt for one-one-one personal training, or take advantage of amenities such as an indoor heated pool. There are also many ways to work up a sweat outdoors, from pickleball or tennis on our outdoor courts to a brisk walk along Lake Redwing or kayaking on its peaceful waters.

Our active retirement community in Virginia Beach places an equal emphasis on social activities as an important part of holistic wellness. Making friends and meeting like-minded people through events, clubs and outings helps residents build a sense of belonging. These vibrant social connections add to residents’ well-being and happiness in daily life.

  • Healthy body.

    It’s no secret that consistent, regular physical activity improves health and overall well-being. Active seniors reduce their risk of a heart attack and manage their weight better. They have lower blood cholesterol levels and less risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Those who perform resistance or weight-bearing exercise also have stronger bones, muscles and joints, and mitigate osteoporosis. They also tend to have better core strength, contributing to better balance and therefore less risk of falls. They’re less frail, and recover more quickly from hospitalization, illness or injury.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends healthy adults age 65 and over include 150 minutes of moderate activity in their week. If you haven’t been physically active in a while or are simply wondering how to get started again, you don’t have to embark on an ambitious exercise program. Try twice-daily blocks of activity for just 10 to 15 minutes a time. Slowly build up to one block of 30 minutes a day, 4 or 5 days a week. Moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, is generally safe for most people. Consult with your doctor to ensure the exercise program you choose is appropriate for you.

    At Atlantic Shores, you don’t have to go it alone. Talk to our experts about health and wellness programs that blend fitness and fun with strength, balance and control. We’ll help you design a plan that matches your abilities and gets you moving at the right pace for you.

  • Healthy mind.

    The importance of staying active for seniors extends beyond physical fitness. A number of studies have found that exercise eases depression and negative thoughts. It keeps the brain focused and has been linked to improved cognitive function and better motor skills. Working out has a positive impact on brain chemistry, lowering stress hormones and increasing levels of “feel good” hormones such as serotonin and endorphins. It gives active seniors more energy to enjoy their day and improves their quality of sleep.

Tips to cultivate an active lifestyle:

  •   Start at a beginner level and work your way up, even if it’s walking or a gentle exercise like tai chi.
  •   Break the recommended 150 minutes into smaller blocks of 25 minutes each day.
  •   Commit to specific times during the week where physical activity is part of your routine.
  •   Look forward to your workout by choosing activities, locations or times you enjoy.
  •   Build accountability by telling others what you plan to do, and by partnering with a friend or family member.
  •   Don’t spend too long sitting. For example, instead of watching TV, take a walk after dinner or hop on a stationary bike.
  •   Turn everyday activities into opportunities to be active. For example, take the stairs instead of an elevator. Or park your car further away, so you do more walking.

Bloom where you’re planted.

Our community Victory Garden is a wonderful example of our approach to active living for older adults. It combines physical activity, creativity and a love of the outdoors. Started in 1998, the garden is beloved by residents and has grown from a small project to 65 plots. Residents plant flowers, herbs, and vegetables of their own choosing for their own table or to share with the community at large. This enthusiasm for gardening is everywhere, spilling over porches, patios and balconies in the form of colorful blooms all year round.

Get a taste of our fun and energetic lifestyle during our Spring Garden Festival on Saturday, May 22 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Visit our community to enjoy a picnic-style lunch, sample wines at our tasting, and stop by farmers markets and craft booths. You can try your hand at flower arranging, join a friendly game of bocce ball or simply enjoy the music from our live band. RSVP here to register your interest, and invite a friend to join you.