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An illustrious past meets an exceptional future. We are committed to creating meaningful lives of purposeful engagement for every resident as well as those who serve them.

Westminster At Lake Ridge Blog

WLR Blog
Posted: Friday, November 29, 2019

Staying Fit after Retirement: Friendly Exercises for Senior Living

One way to add years to your life is by staying fit. Even though genetics can impact our physical and mental health without our consent,  we can still play a large role in staying healthy and active. 

The goals for retirement are often focused on financial needs but it’s just as important to set wellness objectives. This is a time in life many look forward to but without good health,  it won’t be as enjoyable. The great news is that it’s never too late to start.

It’s always a good idea to check with your doctor before you start any strenuous exercise, but here are 5 low impact activities that are not only beneficial for your body, but your mind as well. 

Bridge can be a perfect pursuit because it’s intellectually challenging while offering social interaction. It’s an effective mental exercise because it requires the players to utilize memory, visualization and sequencing skills.

This is a game but with serious benefits. A study at the University of California, Berkeley, actually found it to stimulate the immune system. Other research has shown clear advantages when combining the cognitive training and social activity that bridge offers.

If you’re ready to learn or pick it back up if it’s been a while, there are local groups for beginners as well as books and software programs to help get you started.

  1. The Ultimate Board Game

Chess is another pastime that provides big benefits to its players. Not only is it credited for utilizing brain function, but it can also help improve your memory and cognitive abilities, including strategic thinking and attention. Every time the game is played there’s a mental workout learning object and pattern recognition.

Sharp memory skills are needed to win at chess. Strategies must be created and understood because they’ll need to be recreated and at the right time. One of the biggest brain stretches in chess is learning how to plan and stay one step ahead.

It takes a lot of practice to develop and polish chess moves. There are beginner clubs and on-line instructions if you’re ready to learn.

  1. Achieving Balance

Yoga uses movement, meditation and breathing to bring the mind, body and spirit into a sense of balance and well-being. Remedial yoga is considered a rebalance of the body by strengthening areas of weakness and relieving muscles and joints. The greatest benefit of both is that it impacts the physical and emotional.

Physical benefits can include:

  • Increased flexibility
  • Increased muscle strength and tone
  • Improved respiration, energy and vitality
  • Balanced metabolism
  • Weight reduction
  • Cardio and circulatory health
  • Improved athletic performance
  • Protection from injury

Mental benefits include:

  • Mental clarity and calmness
  • Help in handling stress and developing coping skills
  • Improvement of  mental well-being
  • Increase in body awareness
  • Relieves chronic stress patterns
  • Relaxes the mind
  • Centers attention
  • Sharpens concentration

Source: Osteopathic.org

If you’d like to give yoga a try, there are several classes offered at gyms and recreation centers. There are also many online videos and instruction books.

  1. Benefitting From the Martial Arts

Slow movements and deep breaths make up the basic foundation of tai chi. It’s an inexpensive activity, low impact and is known to be beneficial for treating conditions associated with age.

The following are a few of Tai Chi’s advantages.

  • Decreased anxiety and depression
  •  Improved cognition and better sleep in older adults experiencing cognitive impairment
  •  Improved balance and motor function, reducing the risk of falling.

Source: Healthline.com

According to a Harvard Medical School publication, practicing tai chi as a preventative and rehabilitative treatment alongside primary medical treatments have been found to improve functioning and quality of life through increased muscle strength, flexibility, balance and even some aerobic benefits.

There are several classes available and also videos. Observing a class is a great opportunity to see if this is something you’d want to try.

  1. Water Workouts

Swimming is another activity that can keep you healthy with little risk of injury. It’s low impact yet exercises all the muscle groups.

The health benefits are extensive and include:

  1. Improved cardiovascular endurance, lower blood pressure, improved circulation and risk reduction of heart and lung disease.
  2. A full body workout but gentle on the joints because it’s non-weight-bearing.
  3. A reduction of osteoporosis risk with improved bone mineral density.
  4. Increased flexibility in hips, legs, arms and neck while improving posture.
  5. Improved muscle strength and tone with resistance training.
  6. A reduction in stress levels and increased brain function.

The 4 basic types of water exercises 

  1. Water aerobics: water walking, dancing and aerobic exercises
  2. Basic swimming: beneficial physical activity that builds endurance
  3. Water resistance: arm curls, leg swings and calf raises
  4. Water relaxation: aqua yoga and pilates

Source: American Senior Communities

Swimming is a year-round activity where you can find indoor and outdoor pools in most cities and towns.

Westminster at Lake Ridge

At Westminster at Lake Ridge, we know the benefits of keeping both the mind and body active and healthy. We provide a full calendar of social, recreational, educational, cultural and spiritual programs.

Our fitness centers include an indoor heated pool, wellness, fitness and health programs, as well as scheduled exercise classes, free weights, exercise machines and water aerobics classes.

We offer a well-balanced way of life at Westminster at Lake Ridge. If you’re looking for ways to keep fit, you’ll find our communities can make that easier. Please call (703) 794-4631 if you have any questions or would like to schedule a personalized tour today.



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