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Days are growing longer, temperatures are rising, and green things are emerging. Like everyone else, you've probably experienced the urge to leave the house and enjoy the outdoor world—and what better way to do so than to take your exercise outside? In addition to reaping the usual perks of exercise, you'll also get to enjoy all the benefits of spending time in nature—such as reduced stress and anxiety, lower blood pressure, and better mood.

Of course, some forms of exercise are better suited to the outdoors than others, and particularly for seniors, there are some important safety concerns to be aware of when exercising outside. Here, we'll go through a few of the best types of outdoor exercise for seniors, as well as ways to ensure that you're staying safe and healthy.

Best Ways for Seniors To Exercise Outside

Whether you're exercising outside for the first time and aren't sure where to start, or whether you're just interested in trying something new, consider trying out one of these activities:

  • Not only does walking come with a host of mental and physical benefits, it's also free!
  • Tai Chi or Yoga. For people looking for a slower, gentler form of exercise, tai chi and yoga are great choices. In addition to incorporating breathwork and reducing stress, tai chi and yoga can also help improve your balance, which is a great way to stave off falls. Bonus: see if you can find a guided class that will also provide an opportunity to make friends!
  • Swimming or Water Aerobics. If you prefer low-impact exercise that allows you to incorporate either cardio or strength training, heading to the pool might be your best bet! In addition to reducing pressure on your joints, being in the water will also help keep you cool if it's a hot day.

Stay Safe During Outdoor Exercise

While the outdoors provides a fun, energizing setting for exercise, it also comes with its own set of safety considerations to keep in mind. Next time you head for the door, keep these best practices in mind:

  • Wear reflective clothing to ensure that you're visible to cars. Also, stay alert, and use sidewalks or paths whenever possible. If you're walking on a path that is also used by bikes or runners, stick to the side to allow faster traffic to pass you.
  • Lower your risk of heat stroke by keeping an eye on the temperature and making sure to stay hydrated. Heat can be even more dangerous for seniors, so if the forecast predicts high temperatures, consider moving your workout to earlier in the morning or later in the evening so that you avoid the hottest part of the day.
  • Familiarize yourself with the symptoms of heatstroke and heat exhaustion (tiredness, dizziness, nausea, or cramps) and move to a cool place—such as an air-conditioned mall or community center—if you start experiencing any of them.
  • Make sure to keep essential items like your ID and cell phone with you when you go outside, and let a friend know where you're going and when you expect to be back.

Spectrum Community Services is committed to improving the quality of life for low-income families, seniors, and individuals in Alameda County. Through financial assistance and other services, our goal is to support community members in building healthy, safe, and independent lives. Visit our website for more information, or contact us to learn about current volunteer opportunities. We can't wait to work with you!