The seasons may change, but the health benefits of exercise stay the same. Spending time outdoors can also greatly benefit your health, and the heat and humidity don’t have to stop you. While it may be tempting to curl up in a chair with an old movie in an air-conditioned room, getting outside doesn’t mean you have to suffer in the summer heat.
Have Fun this Summer While Staying Active
1. Go for a walk in the early morning
The coolest time of day is in the morning. For independent seniors who enjoy running and long walks, exercise in the early morning is best when avoiding the high summer temperatures and the risk of dehydration.
2. Indoor walks
When you’re in the mood to exercise, but the weather isn’t cooperating, an indoor walk in a large, air-conditioned place, like an indoor track or the mall, might do the trick. Fitness trackers make counting your steps easy, no matter where you choose to exercise. Many smartphones have pedometer apps you can download instantly. Walking buddies can be a great source of motivation and can help you keep up the pace.
3. Exercise class
Exercise classes can benefit your physical and mental health. You can burn calories and make friends at the same time. Chair yoga and water-walking are both excellent options for people who may struggle with limited mobility or are trying to improve their overall fitness levels. Many YMCA locations offer classes for seniors with specially trained instructors.
4. Dance Class
Try a dance class for instant fun and excitement. Don’t worry if you don’t have a partner. Many classes don’t require you to sign up as a pair. This option offers the benefit of a schedule too. You may even make new friends. Music has a powerful effect on the human mind. Go for the exercise and stay for the fun.
5. Scenic walks
When long walks around the track no longer get you excited, a scenic walk around the aquarium, zoo, or park might. In hot weather, choose an indoor location like the local art museum, and if you’re up to it, be sure to take the stairs. In some cities, museums schedule days where admission is free or discounted. For example, if a local museum or indoor nature center offers free admission every Wednesday, be sure to schedule your visit for that day each week.
6. Group sports
If you gave up bowling but would like to get back into it, now is the time. Ask around about local bowling leagues or get a group of friends together for a no-pressure bowling night. If there’s a sport you used to play and enjoy, consider reigniting that passion.
Gardening is a great way to stay active. Whether you love to tend heirloom tomato plants or daylilies, getting involved with a gardening club is a great way to connect with the community and stay active. Many clubs have regular gardening activities. For the truly ambitious, nothing offers a great workout like a day of cleaning up a local public garden.
Staying active can be as simple as getting off the couch and out of the house. Do you need a reason to leave the house? Volunteering may be your best bet! See if your local library needs help re-shelving books and movies. Maybe the local high school needs volunteers to supervise summer programs. The food bank may need help putting away canned goods or taking inventory.
While your first instinct may be to get out of the kitchen during the summer, consider cooking to stay independent and active. Visit the local farmers market and try a new recipe for dinner. Take a cooking class with a family member or friend or offer to teach one if you have a special culinary skill. Check our some of these brain healthy foods to include in your recipes!
10. Bike Rides
Going for a bike ride is a great way to spend time outdoors while staying active. For extra stability, try a three-wheeled bicycle, or start off practicing on a standing exercise bike in your local fitness center. Many communities have bike lanes and paved trails for the bicyclist’s enjoyment. It’s a classic summer activity that the whole family can enjoy.
When pursuing outdoor activities, always remember to take precautions. Older adults are more vulnerable to dehydration than younger people. It’s always a good idea to pack extra water and take frequent water breaks to avoid dehydration. Sports drinks are full of salt and sugar, so avoiding the colored sweet drinks is a good idea. Check out some additional tips here for other ways to stay hydrated in the summer!
Seniors can be especially sensitive to encephalitis and West Nile virus, so mosquito repellent, particularly near dusk and at night, is essential for safety.
It’s also important to consider sun protection during the summer months. Wearing sunglasses will cut down on dangerous glare and protect eyes from the sun’s rays. Sunscreen is essential, even on long car rides. Light-colored clothes that are also loose-fitting help keep older adults more comfortable when temperatures climb.
Staying active in the summer months doesn’t have to be difficult. It may require a certain amount of creativity and the willingness to try new things but having a summer full of new adventures will increase your overall well-being.
Contact us today to learn more about how you can call one of our communities home!