Staying active year-round is an essential part of maintaining good health for everyone, but especially for seniors. Regular exercise has numerous benefits for seniors. It helps maintain muscle mass and joint health. It releases endorphins, which can help prevent or treat depression. Exercise also increases balance and stability, which can help prevent falls and injuries.
Now that summer is here, seniors have even more options for fun and engaging exercise. If you’re looking for activities for seniors this summer, read on!
1. Go for a Walk or Roll Outside
Walking is one of the easiest activities that seniors can engage in. It’s low impact, it’s good for the joints, and it improves cardiac function. After a winter of mall walking, seniors will be excited to head outside! So head to your local park or easy hiking trail and get moving.
For seniors who need assistance with mobility, getting outside for a “roll,” either in a wheelchair or with a walker, is still a fun activity with multiple health benefits. The fresh air will improve lung and cardiac function and a healthy dose of Vitamin D helps with mental health.
2. Plant a Seed
Many seniors love to garden. Planting something and caring for it until its full-grown gives a deep sense of accomplishment, which is important for mental health. And all that digging, watering, and weed pulling is actually great, easy exercise for seniors. Even those with low mobility can help out in the garden with the help of a good stool or seat.
If seniors are still at home, they may have their own garden to maintain. If they’re in a retirement home, assisting with the gardens on the grounds is a great option. If there are no gardens accessible where they are living, seniors can be brought to a community garden, where they can share a plot with friends or family so they’re not solely responsible for its care.
3. Go for a Swim
Swimming is one of the best and most accessible forms of exercise for seniors. Those who need lots of mobility assistance on the ground can usually move around the pool with ease. And particularly active seniors love the challenge of swimming laps or taking a water aerobics class.
For seniors who’ve been heading to an indoor pool all winter, heading to an outdoor community pool or even the beach is an exciting outing. Remember that the sand at the beach may be challenging for seniors with mobility issues or joint problems. Community pools are particularly accessible for seniors of all activity levels.
4. Volunteer With a Furry Friend
Volunteering is a great way for seniors to be an active part of of their communities. Volunteerism also gives a sense of accomplishment and competence that is essential to seniors’ mental health.
To combine volunteerism and exercise, seniors can head to a local animal shelter and offer to walk or play with the dogs living in the shelter. Many shelters struggle to give every dog in their care the exercise and one on one attention they need, so they’re usually more than happy to let volunteers take the dogs for a short walk around the grounds.
Shelters usually have a playroom where dogs can run around in as well, so seniors who are less mobile can get some low-impact play in with a furry friend.
5. Head to the Farmer’s Market
Summer is the season for local Farmer’s Markets and these events are a perfect opportunity for seniors to combine a good walk and some shopping. The benefit of walking at the Farmer’s Market is that everyone can walk at their own pace because they’re browsing the booths. Those who want to get their heart rate up can take a few vigorous laps around the market before shopping, while those who want to take it slower can leisurely browse from booth to booth.
The Farmer’s Market also provides seniors with the opportunity to purchase healthy foods that they can prepare for themselves or with the help of their caregivers.
6. Take a Tour of Your City
For many seniors, it’s been a while since they explored the sights of their own city. Many cities offer walking tours that are accessible for all activity levels. Some cities also offer Segue tours, which allows seniors to get around a little easier.
For especially active seniors, a lot of cities offer biking tours. Seniors need not own a bike to participate; bikes can usually be rented through the tour company.
For seniors with mobility issues, a self-guided tour with a caregiver pushing them is a great option. Many cities also offer open-air bus or boat tours, which allows seniors with mobility issues to get some fresh air and soak up the sun.
7. Go Berry-Picking
Summer is the season for all sorts of delicious berries. Strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries are all in season at different times throughout the summer. Heading to a farm that offers a pick your own berries option is a great way to get seniors outside and moving.
Berry picking can be done at a slow pace so everyone can participate. And there’s the added benefit of getting fresh fruit when they’re done!
Remember that depending on the berry, picking can require a fair amount of bending, which may not be appropriate for all seniors. For seniors who cannot bend easily, waiting for blueberries to be in season is a great idea since they grow on taller bushes.
The Best Summer Activities for Seniors
These are only a few ideas of summer activities for seniors that can keep them both active and mentally engaged. The ability to get outside, breathe the fresh air, and soak up the sun has health benefits for every senior, regardless of their ability to be active and mobile.
For more ideas on how to help seniors get and stay active during the summer, connect with one of our companions today.