Older Americans Month: How to Stay Physically and Mentally Active

May 20, 2015
Tagged with: Older Americans Month: How to Stay Physically and Mentally Active

May is Older Americans Month, a tradition started by President Kennedy and the National Council of Senior Citizens in 1963 to honor the ways that older people, both past and present, have contributed to the nation and to their communities.

In honor of Older Americans Month, I’d like to take a look at a couple of great ways to stay active–both physically and mentally–as we get older!


One of the best activities to help us stay active as we age is gardening. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that adults, including older adults, get 150 minutes of exercise a week, and gardening is a great form of light exercise. In fact, gardening has been shown to strengthen mobility, flexibility, and motor skills, as well as strengthening joints. Regular gardening can even help prevent future injuries since it makes your joints and bones stronger. Plus, to fulfill the CDC’s suggested amounts of activity, we’d only need to garden for 30 minutes, five days a week.

Gardening is also very beneficial for us as we age because it helps us stay mentally and emotionally active. Making plans and following through with them in a garden, such as choosing your plants and staying on top of caring for those specific species, will help your mind stay active. Additionally, clinical research has proven that gardening will significantly reduce stress and improve mood.


Another great way for us to stay active as we age is to volunteer in our communities. For starters, volunteering has a positive impact on our physical health. According to the Corporation for National & Community Service, people who volunteer in their communities have lower mortality rates and higher functionality. It can also provide exercise opportunities since volunteer work almost always requires you to be constantly moving around!

Volunteering at places like homeless shelters, organizations that help veterans, or animal shelters also helps us stay mentally active in many different ways. First of all, giving back to the community provides a sense of purpose. Living intentionally and purposefully, combined with the knowledge that we are directly helping people in need, will help us maintain positive moods, which, according to the experts at Mayo Clinic, will help reduce risk of depression and improve psychological well-being.

You Can Begin Today!

May isn’t over yet–there’s still time to celebrate Older Americans Month by trying out new hobbies to stay physically and mentally active. How will you celebrate Older Americans Month this May?


Author: Alexa Elheart

  • bobl07

    volunteering is an outstanding for people to be part of their community plus have an opportunity for employment.