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How to Live Your Best Life as a Senior/Solo Ager

Life was moving along, and then suddenly in late 2019, the world stopped. Almost overnight, we were faced with a situation bigger than most of us have ever known - the arrival of COVID-19.

We donned our masks, started washing everything in sight, and many of us received vaccinations. We lost many during this time - friends, family, acquaintances. Even though we are 'through' it, the isolation that was created in our lives affected us all.

As Seniors and Solo Agers, how do we get back out into the world and create a new 'normal'? Especially if we are not of a technological nature? After all, seeing our loved ones or friends and acquaintances face to face IS our normal.

I believe that staying active is crucial for maintaining overall health and well-being as a senior. Here are three key aspects to focus on:

  • Regular Exercise:

    • Engage in a mix of aerobic exercises, strength training, and flexibility exercises. Aerobic activities like walking, swimming, or dancing help maintain cardiovascular health. Strength training exercises, using resistance bands or weights, can help preserve muscle mass and bone density. Flexibility exercises, such as yoga or tai chi, enhance balance and reduce the risk of falls.

    • Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week, along with muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days a week.

  • Balance and Stability Training:

    • Incorporate exercises that focus on balance and stability. This is particularly important for preventing falls, which can have serious consequences for seniors. Simple balance exercises, such as standing on one leg or walking heel-to-toe, can be beneficial.

    • Consider activities like tai chi, which combines balance, strength, and flexibility exercises and has been shown to improve stability in seniors.

  • Stay Socially Active:

    • Maintain social connections and engage in activities with others. Social interaction is not only important for mental health but can also provide motivation and support for staying active.

    • Joining exercise classes, walking groups, or participating in community events can be enjoyable ways to stay socially connected while being physically active.

Remember that staying active doesn't necessarily mean intense workouts; consistency is more important. Find activities you enjoy, as you're more likely to stick with them in the long run. Whether it's gardening, dancing, swimming, or simply taking regular walks, the key is to keep moving in ways that are safe and enjoyable for you.

Be certain to listen to your body, starting with activities that match your current fitness level, and gradually progress. Ten years ago, you could always find me in a Zumba class, but today, I wouldn't enjoy the level of noise from the music. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting a new exercise program, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions.

Here in the Treasure Valley, we have several Senior Centers where you can go have a great meal, enjoy a variety of activities, and meet new friends! In Boise, we have the Dick Eardley Senior Center. In the surrounding areas, the Meridian Senior Center, the Eagle Senior Center, the Nampa Senior Center and the Caldwell Senior Center are also available. Kuna is open three days a week, and Mt. Home is open M/W/F for meals.

There are also two social MeetUp groups that are quite active in the area - Boise Baby Boomers and Good People, Good Times where you can join in a variety of activities including pickleball, pinochle, plays and parties! Another great place to spend your free time is at a local YMCA as most locations have programs specifically for seniors and solo agers.

Whatever you decide to participate in and wherever you choose to go, remember that all of us are trying to find our new ‘normal’ after the isolation of COVID, and that there are more people who may be feeling their way back into social activities as well.

We are created to be with other human beings; to talk, play, and engage with. Enjoy exploring different interests and meeting new people. We are all just walking each other home, so why not enjoy the journey?

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