Physical activity is an important part of a healthy lifestyle no matter what age you are. Regular exercise improves both physical and mental health, lowering your risk for almost every chronic illness that strikes in old age and slowing the process of mental decline.
You don’t have to pound the pavement to enjoy the benefits of exercise. Especially during the summertime when heatstroke and dehydration are greater concerns, low-impact activities can be a great option for seniors looking to get in their daily steps or 30-minutes of cardio.
Low-impact activities can help to ease muscle and join tension, lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol levels, and improve general cardiac health. It has the additional benefit of lifting your energy levels throughout the day, allowing you to be more active in other parts of your daily life.
Here are four fun ways to get outside and enjoy some low-impact exercise this summer:
1 Daily Walk
Walking is one of the best forms of exercise for seniors because it combines two things seniors commonly experience a shortage of: physical activity and social interaction. Invite a friend or a neighbor to join you for a brisk 30-minute stroll first thing in the morning or after dinner. It’s best to avoid times of day when the heat is most intense, from lunchtime to mid-afternoon.
Known as a “lifelong sport,” swimming is arguably the best low-impact activity out there. Swimming is a good cardio workout that strengthens muscles without putting harmful strain on joints. It’s also a great way to cool off on a hot summer day. Hit the water once or twice a week in your community or local neighborhood pool. Swim laps or take part in a water aerobics class.
Pickleball is a lower-impact form of tennis. Enjoy the fun of a tennis volley while putting less stress on your joints. Since pickleball is not a single-player activity, it’s another fun way to combine physical activity with socializing. Start a summer pickleball league in your community to get friends and neighbors involved in some friendly competition.
4. Outdoor Yoga
Yoga is a low-impact exercise beneficial to people of all ages. Engaging in regular yoga practice improves flexibility, strengthens core muscles, and calms the mind. If your community offers a yoga class in the health center, ask if you can move the class outside a couple times a week. Morning yoga is a great way to wake up the body and loosen muscles with some guided stretching, and it’s also a good time of day to avoid the worst of the heat.
It’s never too late to start working on your physical fitness. The key is adapting your fitness routine to the limitations of your body at any given age, as well as to the conditions of the current season. Whether you choose an activity from this list or one of your own, use the summer as an opportunity to get into a groove with your fitness routine while enjoying the fresh air and sunshine.