Regular exercise is a vital component of a healthy lifestyle. Combined with a balanced diet, regular physical activity helps protect you against nearly every chronic illness. Exercise is good for your heart and circulatory system, improves strength and balance, and even helps keep your mind sharp. The summer workouts we describe in this post were selected especially for seniors, but they’re a great choice for any age. As always, talk to your doctor before embarking on a new exercise routine.
1. Water Aerobics
If you look up “summer workouts” on your favorite search engine, the number one answer is always water aerobics. It makes sense. After all, summer is most famous for being hot, and nothing feels better than a swimming pool when it’s 100 degrees outside. In addition, the water adds resistance that helps improve flexibility, cardiovascular health, and bone density.
Water aerobics is particularly beneficial for anyone with joint pain. That’s because the water protects your body from the jarring common in most aerobic activities. If you belong to a gym or community center, they most likely offer water aerobics classes. Similar to traditional aerobics, an instructor leads you through a variety of movements.
In addition to formal water aerobics classes, you can also do some basic exercises in your pool or hot tub. The first is called flutter kicking. All you have to do is hold onto the wall or a kickboard, extend your legs, and start kicking. You can also simply walk or jog in the pool. You’ll raise your heart rate and strengthen your body without breaking a sweat. Finally, try a few arm exercises, such as curls, standing push-ups, or chin-ups using the diving board.
2. Take a Hike
Walking and hiking are both low-impact aerobic activities that offer tremendous health benefits. Head off to a nature trail, take a walk along the paths in your neighborhood, walk along a beach, or take a drive to the nearest mountain for cooler temps and a change of scenery. Walking outdoors, on natural paths, forces your body to work harder, so give it a try if that’s an option where you live.
If it’s too hot where you live, try getting up early, walking in the evening, or moving the action indoors. Shopping malls let you window shop while you exercise. You may also find a great track at your community or senior center.
3. Try Tai Chi
It looks so relaxed, you may doubt it’s even exercise! But Tai Chi offers incredible health benefits for mind and body. These include improved balance, muscle strength, and flexibility. It’s also frequently prescribed for Parkinson’s patients and those who are recovering from an injury.
Tai Chi incorporates slow, purposeful movement coupled with visual imagery and meditation, which is how it benefits the mind as well as the body. It is about as low impact as you can get, making it ideal for arthritis patients, yet still improves muscle strength throughout the body.
4. Unleash Your Inner Landscaper or Gardener
If you’re looking to improve physical fitness, don’t forget common activities that offer loads of health benefits. One of the best is working in your yard or garden. Trimming hedges, mowing the lawn, pulling weeds, and more keeps you moving. Again, if it’s extremely hot where you live, try working in the mornings and evenings.
Also, make sure you recognize poisonous plants – and know what to do if you come into contact with them. Wear protective clothing, such as a hat, sunglasses, and gloves. If you’re using landscaping equipment, protect your eyes with a pair of goggles.
5. Boogey Down
If you’re looking for a great summer workout that’s also a lot of fun, just put on your dancing shoes. Take a ballroom dancing class – salsa is a perennial favorite. Or, keep it really simple and just look for an area bar that has free line dancing classes (there are loads of them out there). Most senior and community centers offer dancing classes, as well.
Of course, you don’t have to make it so formal. There’s sure to be a bar in your area that has music and dancing on the weekend. Exercise doesn’t have to be workout clothes and a gym. Anything that gets your heart pumping and your body moving qualifies.
6. Say, “Fore!”
If you’ve ever played 18 holes, you don’t need us to tell you that golf is a workout. Even if you use a golf cart instead of walking, you’re still out and about, swinging the club, and hunting down the ball when it lands in the rough. And, it gives you time with other players, protecting you against the isolation seniors often experience.
7. Play a Game – With or Without the Grandkids
Again, exercise can be very casual and a lot of fun. Channel your inner child and play a game of catch, throw a frisbee, or try a game of horseshoes or ring toss. Other ideas include water gun fights (with the grandkids or a friend), volleyball, tennis, and miniature golf.
Summer Workout Safety Tips
As always, the first thing to do before making significant changes to your levels of physical activity is to talk to your doctor. Once you have their go-ahead, practice the following safety measures:
- Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your activity
- Take a break if you feel tired or overheated
- Avoid exercising outside when the sun’s at its hottest
- When exercising outside, always wear sunscreen SPF 15 or higher, and reapply every 2 hours
If you experience nausea, pain, or feel faint or dizzy, stop exercising immediately. Move to a cool or shaded area. If you think you have heat or sun stroke, call your doctor. And, if you have any questions about your Medicare plan or coverage, call us toll-free at 855-350-8101 to speak to one of our licensed agents.