It is important for seniors to stay fit, but they often feel intimidated by the younger crowds at the gyms and fitness centers. Seniors who are active in their churches, however, can take advantage of the welcoming atmosphere of the church and begin fitness and exercise groups within the church. We offer a few tips for senior church members who want to get fit with their church family below.
1. Form a Walking Club
If you and other senior members of your church are looking for ways to socialize and stay fit, consider forming a walking club. You may want to begin by walking to church together on Sunday mornings if you live near enough to your church. Advertise in your church bulletin or newsletter and make a Sunday announcement about the walking club. Then, determine which days and times people would prefer to walk in addition to Sundays and establish a schedule for the club.
One of the best features of a walking club is that you can meet and walk just about anywhere all year long because you don’t need any equipment other than good walking shoes. You may choose to walk through local parks around your area, on walking trails, and through friendly neighborhoods when the weather is nice. When it rains or turns cold, choose a local mall or large shopping center to walk around with your group. Many shopping areas are welcome to walkers and have markings to help you track your distance.
The health benefits of walking with a group are numerous. You can walk to lose weight, lower your blood pressure, and reduce your risk for heart problems and depression. Walking is a low-impact activity that just about any abled person of any fitness level or age can do. And, studies show that people who walk in groups are more likely to stick with it than those who walk alone. Research also shows that when you walk with a group, you walk faster and further than when you walk by yourself.
2. Get Fit Working for Church Members
Seniors often look for part-time work after they retire. One way that you can stay fit and earn a little extra money is by working for fellow church members. You may offer to become a housekeeper for members who travel during winter months or who find it difficult to clean their own homes. You also may find that young families who are busy with careers and kids are happy to hire you to clean their homes for them. Cleaning will help you stay active and keep you bending, stretching, and lifting while making some money on the side.
Getting fit is often made easier through the use of apps. For example, fitness and wellness apps like Pocket Personal Trainer provide numerous workout videos and diet plans to help you maximize your time, both while you’re exercising and in the kitchen.
If you prefer to work outdoors, you could do yard work for fellow church members or ask the church itself to hire you to take care of the church grounds. You could stay fit by mowing grass, weeding, trimming shrubs, planting and pruning flowers, and other landscaping work. During the winter, you could shovel sidewalks and steps and clean areas the plowing service may have missed.
3. Start a Fit Club at Church
If there is a doctor, nutritionist, health coach, or another fitness-oriented member in your church, approach her about helping you start a senior fit club. You could determine how long you want the club to run and which activities you will offer at the church. You may approach your pastor about counseling members who struggle with emotional eating or depression and encourage them to join the club, too. Some churches offer group aerobics, dance classes, shuffleboard, and other activities that will encourage senior members to get off their couches and come to church to exercise together and learn about healthy eating. You also could take advantage of the kitchen in your church and ask members or local chefs to give healthy cooking demonstrations at church.
4. Don’t Forget Your Mind
As you age, maintaining your mental fitness should be just as much a focus as maintaining your physical fitness. Be sure to make mental strengthening exercises, such as word games or puzzles, part of your daily routine. And don’t neglect your mental health. Depression is a major issue for senior citizens and can lead to other problems, such as addiction. Your church family cares about you so seek their counsel and love whenever you’re feeling lonely or sad.
Seniors who attend church are in a great position to take advantage of the church community and start getting fit together. Begin by starting a walking club, offering to work for fellow church members, and organizing a senior fit club.