Nurture your inner Olympian with these modified outdoor activities for seniors.
While there is plenty of evidence to suggest that physical activity is good for everyone, seniors can especially benefit. In fact, staying active can help maintain the ability to live independently, reduce the risk of falling, and help control arthritis-associated joint pain and swelling. Inspired by the strong winter Olympians battling for a place on the podium, here are four Olympic Sports that can be modified for active seniors. If you enjoy moderate to vigorous activity and are searching for fun ways to stay active in the winter, give these a try:
Curling traces back to the 16th century when the Scottish played it on frozen ponds and lochs. It debuted as an Olympic sport in the 1924 Olympic Winter Games in Chamonix, France. Akin to shuffleboard, the object of curling is to sweep the ice with special brooms that slide a polished granite stone toward your target.
One of the benefits of choosing curling to stay active in the winter is that it accommodates people of all ages and abilities. Even those with limited mobility can use an additional piece of equipment, called a delivery stick, that limits bending. Before playing, make sure you are wearing warm, comfortable clothing and shoes that provide excellent traction. Be sure to step on the ice with your gripper foot rather than your slider foot to avoid slipping and falling.
2. Cross-Country Skiing
Since 1924, cross-country skiing has been a staple in the Olympic Winter Games. There are several cross-country skiing events that you may see in the 2018 Games in South Korea, including men’s and women’s individual sprint, team sprint, pursuit, individual start, mass start, and the relay.
Cross-country skiing is not only an invigorating way to stay active and enjoy fresh air, it can also encourage you to clear your head and forget about any daily stressors you may have. To stay safe while you ski, dress in layers, wear the proper equipment, apply sunscreen, and take a lesson if you feel you could benefit from expert guidance.
Bobsledding is an Olympic winter sport that was invented in the late 1860s and involves teams running down narrow and twisting iced tracks in a gravity-powered sled. While this type of activity is better suited for highly-trained athletes, you can modify it with an afternoon of good, old-fashioned downhill sledding instead.
Zipping down a snowy slope on a sled can help you reconnect with your inner child and burn some serious calories. To reduce your risk of injury, select a sled that can easily be steered and features rails that raise the rider off the ground.
4. Ice Skating
During the Olympics, ice skaters perform different acrobatic movements on ice while wearing bladed skates. One of the oldest Olympic events, figure skating is a low-impact sport that, when modified to fit your skill level, can be easy on your joints, and can also improve your balance and coordination. You may find it so enjoyable that you’ll forget you are working out!
To reduce injury risk on the ice, make sure your skates fit properly and consider wearing a helmet. If you do not have skating experience, a short lesson can help you learn the basics, so you can feel more comfortable on the ice.
Though these are all exciting ways to stay active in the winter, they are not right for everyone. Be sure to consult with your doctor before trying a new activity. For more articles on senior living and independence, visit our blog here today.
Planning to spend time with your grandchildren this winter? Check out these 5 fun things you can do with your grandkids here.