Summer is on its way, providing a wide array of outdoor activities for seniors and others to fully enjoy the weather. In fact, spending time outdoors has its own health benefits. According to the National Institutes of Health, sunshine can be a good source of vitamin D, which is necessary for calcium absorption and cell regeneration. In addition, the National Institute on Aging says even moderate exercise has health benefits, especially as we age. Take the opportunity to enjoy physical activity outside – it will do you good!
Play outdoor games
Outdoor fun with friends can actually improve your ability to stay focused. An analysis published in 2003 of 18 different studies concluded exercise and fitness have “robust” benefits for cognitive function. An afternoon of golf or a stroll through a local park makes an ideal summer activity while benefiting from the exercise. Even simple games, such as horseshoes and bocce ball, can help increase hand-eye coordination. If you enjoy racket sports, consider inviting friends to join a game of badminton. This tennis-like sport requires hand-eye skill, but it is a lot less stressful on the body than tennis. So you get all the benefits with less strain on your joints.
Pack a picnic
Picnicking can be a great way for seniors to enjoy the outdoors with friends and loved ones. Picnic lunches in the park or in someone’s back yard are opportunities for good conversation and quality companionship.
Take a walk
According to a recent study supported by the NIA, moderate activity in seniors can help support brain health. Walking in the park or around your neighborhood is a good way to get your blood flowing and calories burning. Aerobic activities like walking or swimming increase your heart rate and breathing, and this type of exercise can be great for seniors.
Walking can also open doors to other kinds of outdoor activities, like bird watching, wildflower-spotting or scavenger hunts. Just getting outside and enjoying the fresh air can do a world of good for anyone’s disposition. Biking can also be another good way of increasing your heart rate and exploring more of your local scenery.
As with all outdoor summer projects, it’s important to remember to bring your sunscreen and shoes that are comfortable enough for moderate activity.