10 engaging activities designed to help seniors stay active after injury or illness

As we get older, accidents, illnesses and the natural aging process cause a lot of wear and tear on our bodies. The things that help us stay well, like a healthy diet and exercise, take a lot more effort with age. Although physical activity is very important, staying active can include so much more. Feeling connected with a community, keeping your mind sharp and finding joy are all ways to stay engaged with your life and keep your spirits up.

A new diagnosis, injury, rehabilitation or a medical event like a stroke can be a very isolating experience. But seniors should remember they’re not alone. Your family, friends and other older adults looking to stay healthy can be your best wellness allies.

Keep reading for some ideas on activities that can keep your mind sharp and your body healthy. Plan some recreation time for yourself each week or make it social and get your loved ones involved! Some of these activities are great opportunities to meet new people, too.

What can seniors do to stay healthy and active after having health challenges?

It’s good to have hobbies and practices you can work on every day at home. Some people make it a morning routine to do the crossword puzzle in the newspaper or work through a series of guided exercise videos on YouTube. You can turn almost any interest you’re passionate about into a habit that keeps you engaged. While you’re starting out, mark a few dates on your calendar to spend some quality time with your new hobby.

Things that depend on the weather, like gardening, may only work for a few months out of the year. Make it a ritual to get started with a new project or exercise regimen when the seasons change. Also, try keeping a gratitude journal about the things you really enjoy and look back often.

10 activities seniors can do to stay healthy and active

Try to identify a few things you can do to stimulate your mind, body, spirit and relationships. Finding low-cost activities will help ensure that you stick with them. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to stick to a particular schedule or do things perfectly the first time around. 

Read through these 10 ideas. See what gets you excited and set aside some time to get started:

  • Find great places to walk — There are several reasons why walking is a popular daily exercise. It’s not too strenuous, and you don’t need anything besides a good pair of shoes. Keep it interesting by finding new places to explore, like parks in your area or a lakefront.
  • Get motivated with music — What’s your favorite kind of music? Create a playlist of songs that put you in a great mood on a music app, streaming service or find a channel you like. Sing along and move to the rhythm while you do household tasks like laundry, cleaning and putting away groceries. If you’re feeling ambitious, pick up an instrument you’ve always wanted to play and teach yourself or sign up for lessons. Your friends and family will be so impressed when they hear you play!
  • Take dance lessons — Don’t have a partner? No problem! Some dance instructors teach classes for singles, and you could meet your new best friend. Alternatively, find a style you can do solo, like line dancing or Jazzercise.
  • Learn a new tabletop game — Keep your brain entertained while meeting some new people. See if your local community center or senior center has a game night. Games like dominoes, mahjong, chess, Go, Boggle and many others are fun challenges that don’t take much time to learn.
  • Swim or do aquatic therapy — Water takes pressure off your joints while creating a bit of resistance. Aquatic therapy can be beneficial following a stroke. Your team at Ability KC can recommend aquatic therapy if it is appropriate for you and your goals.
  • Play with your grandkids — Talk with your kids or your grandkids to find some age-appropriate activities you can do together. If they have a gaming system with motion-sensing controls, ask them to show you their favorites. Or you can stick to classics like virtual bowling.
  • Do word puzzles or sudoku — Are you a word person or a numbers person? Pick up a book of crosswords or sudoku puzzles to polish your skills.
  • Join a book club or writing group — Meeting up with a group is a great way to get some social time, even if your favorite things to do are solo activities. Peruse the schedule at a community center or a library near you and meet some people with similar interests.
  • Attend yoga or group fitness classes — A weekly fitness class can help you stay healthy and provide just a bit of social interaction. Make sure you wear supportive shoes, unless it’s a no-shoes kind of activity like yoga.
  • Ride your bike — Cycling can be a form of high-intensity exercise, but it doesn’t have to be. Find beautiful places to ride or get an exercise bike you can use indoors. There are some great scenic videos on YouTube that can be a good substitute when the weather is too extreme. If you are feeling uneasy about riding a bike again, try a three-wheeled bike or a recumbent bike at your local community center!

Stay in touch with your rehab community at Ability KC!

Adjusting to a new disability or rehabilitating after a health setback doesn’t have to be a lonely experience. You don’t even have to share too many details about what’s going on with your friends or family. Just spending time with them can help you feel more energized.

Wherever you are on your rehabilitation journey, you can find wellness and community at Ability KC. Our outpatient rehabilitation and senior programs offer a great blend of activity and peer support to keep you motivated and engaged. Our EXCEL program helps to provide fitness and wellness opportunities for adults with disabilities. 

Have you had a neurologic injury or diagnosis and are looking for a rehabilitation program or getting ready to transition to outpatient rehabilitation? You’re in the right place! Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.