4 Fun and Healthy Activities for Lifelong Wellbeing
By Holly Simmons
A body in motion stays in motion, and the same is true for a mind. That’s because, as we age, engaging in healthy activities that promote both physical and cognitive exercise is increasingly essential for good health. And, what’s more, maintaining social relationships can help improve psychological wellbeing and physical health.
Here are four healthy activities that are good for the body, and the brain. Be sure to always check with your doctor before beginning any new kind of physical activity.
1. Water Aerobics
Water-based exercises are great workouts because they are gentler on aching joints and muscles than land activity, since the buoyancy provided by the water cancels out about 90 percent of your body weight. Being submerged in water can also help improve your circulation and reduce swelling, and the resistance provided by pushing against the water can help you strengthen muscles. Start with walking laps, then progress to other exercise activities. Plenty of local health clubs and rec centers offer water aerobics or dance classes (water zumba, anyone?), or even sporting activities like water volleyball or water polo, which can add the fun social element of a team activity as well.
Gardening can provide both a good physical and mental workout, helping to reduce stress and anxiety, and the movements associated with gardening – bending, digging and lifting – can help decrease risk for heart attacks, strokes and osteoporosis. Bonus: this healthy activity may also put some delicious food on your table!
Crossword puzzles. Bridge. Canasta. Chess. Whatever your game of choice is, play it. Studies have shown that playing these kinds of games can help improve cognitive performance and even reduce risk of dementia in older adults. And if it floats your boat, even playing video games can be a kind of mind exercise that helps improve cognitive control.
4. Making Art
Creating art in any of its many forms is proven to help maintain quality of life as we get older. Participatory arts projects – i.e., making art, not just observing it – has been shown to have to both wellness and therapeutic benefits. Consider taking part in an artistic activity with a physical element, such as a dance class, for a healthy activity that works both your body and your mind. Many community centers have low-cost ballroom dancing lessons for couples, which can also help fuel romance. Plus, these kinds of activities can be a great way to meet new people. Theater training has been shown to have a positive effect on memory and recall, while participating in music activities has been shown to have an effect on anxiety and depression reduction, and can even help improve physical health.
©Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. 2018
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