As a senior, the importance of getting plenty of activity and exercise becomes even more apparent. With the advent of summer, staying active is easier than ever thanks to the warm weather. Everyday Health reminds us that exercise is a vital part of healthy aging, with seniors benefiting most from any type of exercise like low-impact cardio, as long as there’s no risk for injury. But staying active doesn’t always mean hitting the gym. There are plenty of other ways to stay active this summer.
Grab a Friend and Walk
Make it a point to take a walk every day, preferably in the morning when it’s coolest. Going with a neighbor makes it more likely that you will spur each other on for motivation, and less likely to skip days. Walk briskly enough to get the heart pumping, and try to stretch your walk to at least 20 to 30 minutes per day.
Join the Local Senior Center
Senior centers are a valuable resource of any community, and if you don’t know where yours is located, find out! Most services and activities are free, including dance and fitness classes, social get-togethers, knitting groups and reading groups. There could be also planned field trips to local museums and zoos that you can partake in as well. If your center has a pool, take a daily swim for the ultimate low-impact workout.
Cultivate a Garden
Strengthen that green thumb by cultivating your own backyard garden. You may not think this activity is relevant, but actually you’ll burn far more calories than you realize with all the bending, pruning, and other physical movements. An added bonus? You can eat what you plant, so you’ll enjoy fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce knowing you had a hand in their creation.
Enjoy Some Culture
Now that you’re retired, you’ll have a better time to get to know your community. Hit all the museums, cultural events, art shows and aquariums you never had the time to see before. Lots of walking is involved, and you can even enjoy a senior discount at most of these places.
While enjoying activities in the summer months, always be careful to take the proper precautions for your safety while outdoors. A big part of that is staying hydrated, as proved by the Concordia Lutheran Ministries, which found that seniors’ bodies have a diminished ability to retain water as they age, leading to a reduced feeling of thirst. This means you may not experience the signs of dehydration as readily as your younger self, so don’t forget to take a water bottle with you wherever you go instead of sweet, sugary drinks.
Avoid drinking liquor during summer as well, as this affects your body’s ability to regulate temperature. Wear light-colored clothing to stay cool and comfortable. Last of all, apply sunblock with at least SPF 15 when you head outdoors, particularly during the peak hours of 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. when the sun is at its hottest. With all these tips, you’ll be able to take advantage of the warm summer days to improve your health, so get out of there and get fit!