Looking for an easy way to feel great at any age? Just step outside on a sunny day!
Spending time outdoors has lots of benefits that are especially important as we get older. Moderate exposure to sunlight provides vitamin D, which promotes a healthy brain, bones and muscles. Getting some fresh air can also boost your mood for better emotional health.
On top of that, many outdoor activities offer a great chance to interact with friends and family. From invigorating exercise to taking time to relax and unwind, here are some of our favorite outdoor activities for older adults.
Walking & Other Exercise
Regular exercise lets you enjoy a more active and independent lifestyle after age 65. So lace up those sneakers and head outside to stay in shape!
Simply put, walking is one of the best exercises around. It’s easy, you can move at your own pace and you can do it almost anywhere. Go for a long hike or a quick stroll, depending on your fitness level or how much time you have. If you’ve been sedentary for a while, start slowly and gradually build up your speed and distance.
Want to add a little variety to your routine? Ride a bicycle for a great cardiovascular exercise without overexerting yourself. Go for a swim for a refreshing aerobic workout that’s easy on your joints.
Planting and tending a garden offers another rewarding and relaxing way to take in some fresh air. It’s a great light aerobic activity that keeps you moving at a comfortable pace while maintaining strength and flexibility.
When you want to savor a fun and simple meal with family and friends, pack a picnic lunch! It’s the perfect activity when you’re on vacation, at your favorite park or even on your patio!
Choose an area with plenty of shade and comfortable seating, and bring along a variety of foods for everyone to enjoy. Great finger foods include fruits and raw veggies, protein-packed meats and cheeses and easy no-bake cookies. Bring along a kite or play some fun outdoor games to make the occasion even more fun for all!
Connecting with Nature
Stepping off the beaten path nourishes your body, mind and soul. Researchers have discovered that spending time in nature can actually lower your blood pressure, relieve stress and improve emotional health.
Hiking is an excellent way to build strength and endurance. Choose trails based on your personal skill level, from beginner to advanced. Bring along the binoculars for some birdwatching, another soothing way to calm the mind and invite quiet reflection. Load up your fishing pole for a day of fun with friends or some quality time with grandchildren. Fishing lets you move at your own pace and can be enjoyed from a boat or along the shoreline.
If you’re craving a little extra time away from the hustle and bustle of daily life, plan a weekend camping trip. Missouri State Parks include over 3,500 campsites with a variety of amenities to suit your needs. From splashing in a stream to cooking s’mores around the campfire, camping offers a personalized experience that can be as relaxed or as rigorous as you prefer.
Outdoor Fun & Games
Nearby parks or recreation areas offer a great place for a little light-hearted competition and good conversation. Low-impact sports like horseshoes or croquet let participants move at their own pace and promote good hand-eye coordination.
Head out for a round of golf to enjoy a low-intensity sport and a great social activity. Hit the tennis court for a wonderful cardiovascular exercise that challenges your endurance and reaction time.
Local Attractions & Events
If you’re wanting to stay close to home, a fun day trip lets you discover unique points of interest in your local area. Check out local events including art shows or outdoor concerts. From your grandchild’s soccer game to your favorite college or professional team, sporting events are a fun way to connect with others. Find a great bargain at your local flea market or purchase healthy, delicious, local food at the farmer’s market.
Whatever outdoor activities you choose, be sure to stay safe along the way. Here are some important safety tips for older adults when spending time outside.
- Drink plenty of fluids. The risk of dehydration increases with age, so bring along some water or your favorite sports drinks. Avoid alcohol or caffeine, which can increase dehydration.
- Avoid the hottest part of the day. During the summer months, mornings and evenings tend to be cooler and more comfortable for outdoor activities.
- Dress appropriately. Wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing. Remember, light colors will reflect more heat, while dark colors absorb it. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and UV-protective sunglasses to protect your face and eyes.
- Use insect repellent and sunscreen. Don’t let a day in the sun turn into a painful sunburn or itchy bug bites. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 50, along with insect repellent.
- Listen to your body. Watch for symptoms of heat exhaustion or heat stroke. These include a flushed face, headache, nausea, rapid pulse, dizziness or confusion. If you experience mild symptoms, drink extra fluid and head back indoors. Seek medical attention if symptoms persist or become severe.
At the Terrace Retirement Community, we offer lots of ways to enjoy the outdoors. Take a walk along our beautiful courtyard paths and bring your furry friend along! We offer individual garden plots where you can grow beautiful flowers or raise tasty fruits, vegetables and herbs for your favorite recipes. Explore the surrounding area with us on fun day trips to nature areas, botanical gardens and other nearby attractions.
Want to learn more about active senior living? Call us at 573-875-2538 or reach out online at any time!