Always talk to a health professional before starting a new exercise or fitness activity.
8 ways to stay active throughout the seasons!
The changing seasons provide new opportunities to be active. We compiled a list of ideas for staying mentally, socially, and physically active all year long.
Spring activities for seniors
Two ways to stay active during the Spring season!
Tending a plot of ornamental plants or delicious vegetables and fruits has a lot of benefits beyond the harvest, according to CDC data. As little as 2.5 hours of moderate physical activity like active gardening each week can help you maintain a healthy weight and avoid conditions like high blood pressure and other cardiac issues, colon cancer, depression, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, and even premature death. It keeps you active and flexible, helps you get Vitamin D from sunshine and creates a calming effect.
Tip: Don’t like digging in the dirt? Consider flower arranging or cooking with items from someone else’s garden.
“Walking is an excellent choice for a low-impact activity to improve cardiorespiratory endurance,” explains Sabrena Jo, American Council on Exercise’s director of science and research. “Walking on various terrains – outdoors, uphill, downhill and on sand, etc. – will challenge muscles in different ways and may be more engaging. Just be sure the walking areas are well-maintained and free of tripping hazards.”
Tip: Wear comfortable walking shoes and appropriate workout clothing.
Summer activities for older adults
Two ways to stay active during the Summer season!
Vacation book club
No matter how old we are, summer is associated with vacation. Expand your ability to travel with a book club focused on fiction or nonfiction titles about your dream destinations or adventures. Your book group can be as big or small as you like and meet in person or use chat technology to meet virtually. In addition to topic, consider the book’s length, reading level, price and availability at stores, libraries and digital readers. Bonus: Reading has physical, emotional, and social benefits that help you age well.
Tip: Need inspiration? The Library of Congress hosts a searchable database of books representing each state’s literary heritage.
This cardiovascular activity provides a full-body workout that “helps senior adults maintain cognitive functions and slows down the rate of muscle tissue loss,” explains Bill Brenner, chief operating officer, U.S. Masters Swimming, which sponsors 1,500 clubs across the country. “It’s easy on the joints and enhances aerobic and anaerobic capacities.” Make sure you consult with your health professional to make sure you’re healthy enough to begin a swimming fitness program.
Tip: “Once you get to the pool, approach your workouts with moderation. Have a coach help you set goals, keep you motivated and swim with proper technique to reduce the risk of injury,” Brenner advises.
Fall activities for active seniors
Two ways to stay active in the Fall!
Birds are active year-round, but they can be easier to spy when the leaves are off the trees. Birding is a good way to connect with nature and can be done from your window or out in the wild. Simply looking at all the birds in your vicinity is very meditative because you have to sit quietly and be present to avoid spooking shyer species. Make it a more intellectual pursuit with a set of binoculars and a birding guide organized by feather color.
Tip: Birding outside? The National Park Service recommends bringing water and snacks and wearing sun protection, long sleeves, and pants to protect from biting insects.
Fall is a great time to gather natural items to make your own crafts and seasonal décor. “I like to think of it as shopping from your yard,” notes artist Janet McKean, founder, and creative director at mckean + company. “I like to pick up things when I see them on my walks and label and organize them so they’re ready when I want to do a project. The materials are readily available at no cost to you and they’re recyclable. Use your imagination and have fun.”
Tip: Gather pods, branches, moss, fronds, dry grasses, fallen leaves, pinecones, holly, and other evergreens to create wreaths, centerpieces, and arrangements. Rocks, pebbles, or shells also make nice accents.
Winter activities for energetic adults
Two ways to stay active and engaged during Winter!
Whether we’re less active because of the weather, or feeling more isolated because of the time of year, it can be difficult to feel good in winter. Dancing addresses both issues. Whether it’s an instructional class or a recreational event, dancing improves emotional health with social interaction and companionship and boosts our physical health with low-impact cardio. It’s easily adaptable for people with mobility issues, too.
Tip: Make sure there’s plenty of room to move without bumping into something or tripping over furnishings, rugs or cords.
“Many people use winter as a time to reset health-wise but are often hesitant to walk into a new environment, be it because they are intimidated, feel too out of shape to do a certain workout, etc.,” explains fitness specialist Dana Harshaw, owner of Barre3 Chapel Hill. “Using an online workout helps gain confidence and find a workout that really suits you before taking the leap and walking through a studio’s or gym’s doors.” Plus, she notes, “Exercise is proven to help your immune system, and winter is prime season for getting sick. Seasonal depression is also a real issue for some people, and again, exercise helps boost your mood.”
Tip: If you’re exercising alone, create a buddy system with a friend or family member and check in with them before and after your workout.
Don’t disregard professional medical advice, or delay seeking it, because of what you read here. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment; it is provided “as is” without any representations or warranties, express or implied. Always consult a healthcare provider if you have specific questions about any medical matter, and seek professional attention immediately if you think you or someone in your care may be suffering from a healthcare condition.