As we age, our joints start to lose flexibility and our range of motion decreases, increasing the chance of injury or falls. Decreased flexibility can also negatively impact the ability to participate in activities we enjoy. This summer, take advantage of the beautiful, warm weather and spend more time outdoors working on maintaining or increasing your flexibility.
One of the most simple forms of exercise – and the easiest – is walking. Whether you enjoy casually meandering or prefer fast-walking, the movement of your knees bending and your hips rotating with each step helps increase flexibility, range of motion, and even balance. Walking for just a few minutes every day will not only help with weight maintenance and weight loss, but it will help lower blood sugar, ease joint pain, boost your mood, and so much more. Break out your walking shoes, put on some comfortable, breathable clothing, and get outdoors for a nice walk to enjoy the warmth of the summer season.
2. Playing With Your Pup
Your furry friends need exercise just as much as you do! And what better way to get some fresh air in the nice weather than by playing outdoors with your canine companion. The motion of bending down to pick up their ball or to give them a reassuring pat on the head will help lengthen your back, hip, arm, and leg muscles for better range of motion. Bring a toy or two out with you for a game of fetch or a bit of tug-o-war. Just be sure to have some water for you and your pup.
3. Practicing Qigong
Qigong (qi gong, chi kung, or chi gung) is a gentle form of martial arts. Think of qigong as a standing form of active meditation. During this form of exercise, you focus on inhaling and exhaling in a mindful manner while gently moving your limbs and core through a coordinated body-posture sequence. This style of Eastern exercise is intended to help you move stored energy in your body and to keep you focused on intentional breathing. Here is a great 20-minute qigong session for beginners.
4. Moving Your Body With Yoga
Invite a friend or family member along for an outdoor yoga session. Pick a local park or choose to keep it close to home right in your own Milestone community courtyard. All you will need are comfy, stretchy clothing, water, and a towel or yoga mat. New to yoga or not sure what moves to do for flexibility? Watch this quick video for some inspiration or bring your smartphone or tablet for a follow-along yoga session.
With the summer season comes hot weather. Any time you choose to take your exercise or stretching routines outside, be sure to practice summer safety:
- Bring water
- Wear sunscreen
- Wear cotton or breathable clothing and a hat
- Avoid the hottest temperatures of the day (around noon to 3 PM)
- Watch out for any lightheadedness or fatigue. If so, it’s probably time to get inside or at least into the shade.
Looking for more healthy living tips and tricks? Browse through our Milestone Retirement Communities blog page or click any of the related tags at the top of this post, like Activities For Seniors or Health and Wellness.