Safe Summer Exercises For Seniors

safe summer exercises for seniors

Summertime heat and increased sun exposure are no reason to stop exercising. While seniors are more vulnerable to heat exhaustion and heat-related side effects, not to mention dehydration, there are plenty of ways for caregivers to keep seniors healthy and active during the summer months. 

In addition to the many physical and emotional benefits of exercise, physical exertion is also essential for maintaining a healthy circadian rhythm and sleep schedule

7 Ideas To Keep Seniors Active With Safe Summer Exercises 

Here are 7 ideas to keep your senior loved ones active and moving this summer. 

Focus on hydration and healthy snacks 

Seniors’ “thirst-meters” can get a bit wonky as the result of age-related changes in the brain as well as medication side effects. Do your best to keep seniors hydrated by providing a fresh supply of cool liquids wherever you go. Packing refreshing and easy-to-eat snacks keeps energy stores up, so consider keeping a lunch tote filled with fresh fruits and veggies, cheese and crackers, or baggies of mixed nuts.  

Read our post on 10 Simple Ways to Keep Seniors Hydrated for more ideas. 

Water exercise classes 

Most community pools offer water exercise classes for people of every age, including seniors. Classes are provided by qualified instructors and typically occur in the mornings or evenings when the sun isn’t as intense. Water exercises are healthy for seniors because they support the joints while providing just-right muscle resistance (good for healthy bones) and cardio.  

Make sure to apply sunscreen and wear a hat and glasses. A light, long-sleeved shirt is easy to maneuver in the water or look for a long-sleeved water-specific shell for extra sun protection. Our post Seniors Should Have Fun in the Sun…Safely has more tips and reminders about seniors and sun safety. 

Tai Chi 

Tai Chi is “…an art embracing the mind, body, and spirit – Originating in ancient China, tai chi is one of the most effective exercises for health of mind and body. Although an art with great depth of knowledge and skill, it can be easy to learn and soon delivers its health benefits. For many, it continues as a lifetime journey.” (taichiforhealthinstitute.org). 

Because the movements are slow and fluid, it is a wonderful way for seniors to strengthen balance, flexibility, and range of motion with minimal risk of injury. It is known to support a myriad of senior health conditions, including arthritis. Some Tai Chi groups meet outside in parks or other public spaces in the early morning to get outside and enjoy cooler temperatures. Others are offered indoors. Click Here to find a senior Tai Chi group near you. 

Walking or hiking 

Depending on an individual’s physical health and stamina, walking and hiking are two of the best and easiest ways to get out there and move. Walking sticks, canes, or walkers can be used for extra stability, and you can choose the day(s) of the week or time of day based on the weather forecast. Most seniors prefer walking in the mornings when it’s cooler or after their afternoon nap or dinnertime.  

Safe summer exercises like gardening

Most people don’t realize how much physical exertion is required to work in the garden. The body stretches, pulls, grabs, and moves – all of which exercise the body. If you don’t have space in the yard for your garden, contact your local garden supply store or senior center to ask whether or not there is a community garden in your area.  

Our post Gardening For Seniors… shares some of the proven benefits gained by seniors who garden, including a reduction in depression or feelings of loneliness, increased mobility, and memory care support. It also has tips on how to make gardening safer and more accessible for seniors. Plus, growing your veggies, fruits, and herbs supports healthier snacks and meals

Have a dance party 

Exercise classes are great, but they may not be ideal for homebound seniors or those who can’t drive. Putting on some favorite music and having a dance party – either solo or with a favorite caregiver – is a great way to get the blood flowing, enjoy some cardio exercise, and have lots of fun and shared laughter in the meantime. 

Dance parties are also an excellent way for seniors to connect with dance-loving family members and grandchildren online via Zoom or your preferred video platform. 

Throw a ball for a human or a dog 

Playing catch, frisbee, or shooting some hoops are all easy ways to get a workout. If you have friends, neighbors, or local children around, see if they’re up for playing with you. Odds are they’ll say yes, especially those who don’t have their own grandparents living nearby.  

Whether you have a dog or not, throwing a ball for a dog is another great way to get some safe summer exercises. Visit your local dog park with a few extra tennis balls, and you’ll have friends for life. Odds are, some of those dog owners will gratefully make “play dates” with you to make their dog happy. If balance or mobility is an issue, find a safe place to sit down or bring a lawn chair with you.  

Bonus Tip: Exercises from the chair 

Are you a homebound or chair-bound senior? There are still plenty of ways for you to stretch, move, and burn some calories. Read our post on Exercise for Homebound Seniors for more on that topic. 

We Can Help

Are you worried your senior loved one spends too much time alone, or that s/he isn’t getting enough exercise? Perhaps it’s time to consider hiring a senior companion service for just that purpose. Our caregivers enjoy getting senior clients out and about the Bay Area and can happily support a healthy lifestyle with safe summer exercises. Contact HomeAide Home Care, Inc. to learn more or to schedule a free in-home consultation.

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