The Importance of Staying Active for Older Adults: Benefits and Trends

As we age, staying active becomes increasingly essential for maintaining overall health and well-being. Regular physical activity can significantly improve quality of life, providing both physical and mental health benefits. Recent research underscores the critical role of exercise in healthy aging, revealing that active seniors tend to enjoy better cognitive function, stronger bones, effective weight management, and overall enhanced vitality. Here, we explore the top three activities to stay active, trends in new exercises, and specific health benefits of maintaining an active lifestyle.

Recent Research Highlights

Recent studies have consistently demonstrated the myriad benefits of physical activity for older adults. According to a 2023 report by the National Institute on Aging, regular exercise can reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis. Moreover, the American Journal of Preventive Medicine published findings in 2022 showing that seniors who engage in regular physical activity have a 30% lower risk of cognitive decline compared to their sedentary counterparts. These findings highlight the critical importance of integrating exercise into daily routines for older adults.

Top Three Activities to Stay Active

Walking: One of the simplest yet most effective forms of exercise for older adults is walking. It’s low-impact, easy to start, and can be done almost anywhere. Walking helps improve cardiovascular health, strengthen muscles, and enhance mood. A daily 30-minute walk can significantly contribute to overall fitness and well-being.

Strength Training: Incorporating strength training into an exercise regimen is vital for maintaining muscle mass and bone density. Using resistance bands, free weights, or weight machines can help prevent sarcopenia (age-related muscle loss) and osteoporosis. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends strength training exercises for older adults at least twice a week.

Flexibility and Balance Exercises: Activities such as yoga, tai chi, and Pilates can improve flexibility, balance, and coordination, reducing the risk of falls—a major concern for older adults. These exercises also promote mental relaxation and stress reduction.

Community living makes exercise classes easily available and safe.


McCrite Plaza Senior Living provides many activities, including exercise classes, walking paths, and special balance classes. In addition, Physical Therapy specialists are available for rehabilitation after an illness or a hospital stay. The ease and proximity of these facilities make it easy to partake. The company of neighbors is not only physically beneficial but also a lot of fun and incentive to participate. These activities are available year-round and not dependent on weather conditions. Convenience is the key!

New Exercise Trends for Seniors

New exercise trends are continually emerging, offering innovative and enjoyable ways for older adults to stay active. One notable trend is the growing popularity of pickleball, a sport that combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong. Pickleball is particularly appealing to seniors because it is low-impact, easy to learn, and fosters social interaction. According to the USA Pickleball Association, the number of pickleball players over the age of 55 has surged by over 10% annually in recent years.

Another trend is the increased participation in fitness programs specifically designed for older adults, such as Silver Sneakers. Silver Sneakers offers group exercise classes, social events, and online resources tailored to seniors’ needs and fitness levels. These programs are often available through Medicare Advantage plans, making them accessible to a broad audience.

Health Benefits of Staying Active


Cognitive Function

Regular physical activity has been shown to boost cognitive function and reduce the risk of dementia. Exercise promotes brain health by improving blood flow to the brain, reducing inflammation, and stimulating the production of growth factors that support neuron health and plasticity.

Bone Strength

Weight-bearing exercises like walking and strength training are crucial for maintaining bone density. These activities help stimulate bone growth and reduce the risk of osteoporosis and fractures, which are common concerns for aging individuals.

Weight Management

Maintaining a healthy weight is essential for preventing and managing chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. Regular physical activity helps regulate body weight by burning calories and building muscle mass, which in turn increases metabolic rate.

Mental Health

Physical activity is a natural mood booster. It reduces levels of stress hormones like cortisol while increasing the production of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators. Exercise can alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety, providing a sense of achievement and purpose.

McCrite Plaza offers multiple activities and programs to keep residents engaged.


Staying active is one of the most important steps older adults can take to enhance their health and quality of life. Engaging in regular physical activity such as walking, strength training, and flexibility exercises can yield profound benefits, from improved cognitive function and bone strength to better weight management and mental health. Embracing new exercise trends like pickleball and participating in senior-specific fitness programs like Silver Sneakers can make staying active both fun and socially rewarding. As research continues to highlight the critical role of exercise in aging well, it becomes increasingly clear that an active lifestyle is essential for enjoying a long, healthy, and fulfilling life.

Come for a visit and ask the staff about the active life at McCrite. Make the rest of your life the best of your life! 

Call McCrite Plaza in Briarcliff-Kansas City at (816) 888-7930 or (785) 267-2960 in Topeka, or complete the contact form below.

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