Taking time to enjoy the great outdoors will naturally improve our mental and physical health, which is precisely why outdoor activities can be such a fantastic way for seniors to experience greater enrichment in their day-to-day lives. If you aren’t typically one to put on your sneakers and head outdoors, there are still some easy outdoor activities that you can try by yourself or with a loved one at home, or even in your wider retirement communities. Remember, you don’t have to raise your heart rate to get the benefits of nature, so let’s get you inspired to plan an outdoor activity or two using the list of suggested activities we’ve included below.
You cannot underestimate the impact walking has on your mind and body. Walking engages so many muscles in the legs, glutes and back, ensuring that you have a stronger base to rely on. It will also get your body accustomed to moving at a steady pace and it’s one of the less intense ways to elevate your heart rate whilst ensuring you still engage in some daily exercise.
Mindful walking is also a great way to switch off when you feel you may be in need of a screen detox, making a good stroll around your neighbourhood the perfect method for combating 3pm slumps, even in retirement. It’s easy to find the motivation to walk as you can make this activity as long or short as you like, so start to add a small walk into your daily fitness routine and see how it feels.
Yoga, pilates or stretching
You would be forgiven for thinking you have to be incredibly flexible and young to be good at pilates or yoga, but that is simply not true! Getting outdoors, either in a park or on your balcony, to stretch and hold some poses will really open you up and make your body feel more limber and strong in little to no time. Yoga or pilates can also be fantastic ways to start or end your day, and can even help you sleep better, as your joints and muscles are reaping all the many benefits of low impact aerobic activity. Rest assured, bit by bit you will start to feel more open and lighter on your feet with yoga and pilates in your daily routine.
Swimming in an outdoor pool or local body of water is another fantastic low impact aerobic workout for seniors. As this activity is not weight-bearing, seniors can naturally work harder and move their bodies in a wide range of motion without the hindrance of gravity.
You don’t have to swim fast or for very long to enjoy the benefits of this heart-healthy activity either. Even just spending time in the water using your arms, legs and lungs will make you feel fantastic and can work wonders when it comes to toning muscles gently. If you don’t feel comfortable doing breaststroke or freestyle in the pool, you may find water aerobics to be a more suitable activity to begin with, and perhaps you can try to add some other swimming styles to your routine as you gain greater confidence in the water.
When was the last time you met up with friends outside, rather than indoors? We tend to forget about our stunning parks when we make plans but there are so many benefits to catching up with a coffee or a picnic outdoors. Everyone is welcome, including pets and little ones, and you get a chance to soak up some Vitamin D too! You may also get to know other regulars or your fellow neighbours who frequent the same outdoor areas you find yourself in, which can support you forming great relationships with members of your community that you may not have met otherwise.
Equip yourself with a nice picnic blanket and some reusable utensils and start planning your next outdoor adventure with friends, old and new!
Well, there are a few ideas to get you started on rediscovering the beauty of the outdoors. There are always going to be things you would prefer to do inside, but why not see if you enjoy them just as much outside?