4 Summertime Exercise Activities for Seniors

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4 Summertime Exercise Activities for Seniors

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Exercise Routines for Seniors

An important part of senior life is staying active, and that means working physical activity into your day-to-day life—even when the summer heat starts to test your resolve. When the mercury rises and the humidity makes even the most die-hard fitness junkie want to hide out in air conditioned comfort, the following ideas can get you thinking about how you can stay active without exposing yourself to heat exhaustion, sunburn, and other hazards of hot weather.

1. Yoga

Yoga is not just for super fit, slender, twenty-somethings. Yoga is a fabulous activity for people of all ages, but it is especially valuable for seniors. Seniors lose muscle and bone mass every year that they do not engage in resistance exercise, and yoga is a low impact, easy way to build muscles.

Yoga can strengthen all of the muscle groups of the body, but it is especially good at strengthening your "core"—the muscles of the back and abdomen that support the entire body. Strengthening these muscles can make everyday activities of senior life like carrying groceries or raising the garage door just a little bit easier. Additionally, yoga moves can help increase your flexibility which can help prevent pulled muscles.

Unlike other strengthening exercises, yoga does not require any special equipment, and it can be done almost anywhere. Even if you have health issues like arthritis or mobility issues, a qualified yoga instructor can direct you in modifications to accommodate any physical limitations.

2. Tai-chi

In many countries of the Far East, it is not uncommon to see people, old and young alike, participating in Tai Chi in public spaces like parks. However, when the weather is really hot, Tai Chi is a form of fitness that can easily be moved indoors because, like yoga, no special equipment is needed.

Studies have shown that Tai Chi may help with symptoms of Parkinson's, arthritis pain, and high blood pressure. Additionally, Tai Chi is excellent stress relief. Tai Chi's movements are slow and controlled, so there is no pressure to "keep up with a class," and it is an excellent way to center yourself in preparation for the day. Tai Chi is often used in conjunction with meditation to help reduce cognitive decline. Additionally, the focus developed while practicing Tai Chi can give seniors relief who are prone to worry and depression. Participants learn to redirect their thoughts into positive areas, reducing levels of depression.

Tai Chi may not be a typical form of exercise for older people in the United States, but it is certainly one of the more beneficial.

3. Water Aerobics

Seniors who are struggling with limited mobility may find water exercise like water aerobics helpful. The water supports the body so that standing is not quite so difficult, and the resistance of the water helps strengthen your muscles without you ever having to lift a single dumbbell. For seniors with arthritis, water aerobics are appealing because, compared to walking, running or other forms of exercise, it has relatively little impact on the joints. In addition to strengthening muscles, water aerobics can also increase your stamina and endurance.

Another appealing thing about water aerobics for seniors is that these exercises are frequently done in a group, providing social interaction and accountability.

4. Walks during the Coolest Part of the Day

Seniors who enjoy a daily walk may just need to plan their walks for cooler times of day. Evening strolls and early morning jaunts can be beneficial for those who prefer being outdoors when they exercise. Thankfully, long summer days mean more hours of daylight, so both night owls and early birds can find a time of day when a walk will not be too miserable. However, be smart. Always bring a cell phone, so that you can contact someone if you get overheated or a walk takes longer than you had planned.

Senior life does not have to come to a screeching halt every time the weather gets hot and the humidity rises. By choosing one of these fitness activities for seniors, you can stay strong and healthy all year long.

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Bryan Reynolds
By
July 25, 2015
Bryan Reynolds is the Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations for Episcopal Retirement Services (ERS). Bryan is responsible for developing and implementing ERS' digital marketing strategy, and overseeing the website, social media outlets, audio and video content and online advertising. After originally attending The Ohio State University, he graduated from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, where he earned a Bachelor of fine arts focused on electronic media. Bryan loves to share his passion for technology by assisting older adults with their computer and mobile devices. He has taught several classes within ERS communities as well as at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute run by the University of Cincinnati. He also participates on the Technology Team at ERS to help provide direction. Bryan and his wife Krista currently reside in Lebanon, Ohio with their 5 children.

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