Instead of sticking to the regular physical activity program, add some variety to your program. The trick is to make exercise fun, find activities that excite you and introduce a new activity each month for your group to try. And when you feel that it is not working, make some slight changes in your routine, keep it exciting. Experiment and find out what works best for you and your participants. Here are a few activity suggestions that you may want to consider to keep you "in motion" throughout the year.
- Get to know your neighbor
This is a common ice breaker activity for you to use at the beginning of your program. It will help the residents interact with each other and feel comfortable with the group.
Description: First you start with having everyone sit around in a big circle. You can start the activity, to ensure everyone knows what to do. Now, you can introduce yourself to the group, identify your name and one recreational activity that you like to participate in (ie: cards, walking, dancing, gardening, bird watching). If someone else enjoys that activity have them raise their hand. Then go around the circle and have each person introduce him or herself and an activity they enjoy
- Beach Ball
This is a good activity to exercise the arms and legs.
Equipment: Beach ball, 1 or 2 depending on size of group.
Description: Start with everyone sitting around in a large circle, with the leader standing in the center. The beach ball is tossed to each resident, they can either catch or hit the ball. Once you go around the circle a couple of times have residents kick the ball back and forth. Make this a fun activity, talk about sitting at the beach on a very hot day, while people toss the ball around.
- Yoga, Tai chi
Invite a yoga instructor to teach a class or try taking the group to a yoga or tai chi class in the community.
Instead of exercising one week, take your group to a community leisure facility that offers aquatic programs for older adults. This is a great way to expose older adults to programs offered in the community.
- Sing Along
Singing is an activity that many older adults enjoy. Begin and end your program with group sing along. Ask the group what songs they like and have them lead.
- Teas or Pot luck dinners
Reward your group either once a month or every couple months. Hold a "Heart Smart" pot luck dinner (there are plenty of great recipes in our in motion Nutrition section for you to try), or simply offer tea and a healthy treat. If you are looking for ideas to raise money for your program turn this event into a fundraiser and charge a small fee and invite family and friends.
- Special and Theme Events
Tie in your activities with national, provincial or local awareness and physical activity events. Many local charities run annual events, this is a good opportunity for participants to raise money for a good cause as well as promoting active healthy lifestyles.