Summer: A Great Time To Be More Active

Jun 27, 2022

Getting outside during the long, sunny days of a Canadian summer isn’t only for kids and the young. It’s an optimal time for everyone, seniors included, to venture out and participate in some physical activities, despite their age or condition.

Times have certainly changed since my grandmother (I don’t know about yours) would just sit on the shoreline and watch the action going on in the water instead of joining in on a hot summer’s day. It wasn’t considered de rigeur.

Our’s is a New Generation

In order to stay active, you need to be active. And this is particularly true when it comes to seniors. There’s no better time than summertime when the weather’s more amenable to being out of doors to take up some new, active pursuits that will contribute to a person’s overall fitness. Doing so will ultimately lead to more years of independent living and overall improved well-being, both physically and mentally.

Those pursuits needn’t be onerous; daily walking, swimming or cycling and jogging are four easy and affordable activities to do, as are canoeing/kayaking, light to moderate hiking, golfing, pickleball and tennis to name a few more.

Take It From a Doctor

At our age, we’ve all probably researched various aches and pains at some point in our lives in an effort to find out a) why we have them, b) what’s causing them and c) what to do about them. Right? We’ve all probably got a particular ‘go-to’ website or two which we frequent to get answers and advice when it comes to our physical issues in our search for ways in which to alleviate them through exercises and activities specific to them. Here’s something we learned from one of our own go-tos.

“Older patients frequently come to see me complaining of problems in the muscles, joints and bones. Regular exercise can slow the loss of muscle mass, strengthen bones and reduce joint and muscle pain. Research has shown that just 30 minutes of moderate physical activity provides benefit. I emphasise that this does not need to be vigorous — low intensity is better than nothing. In my view, the key is to do something that can be enjoyed and then try to do it on a regular basis,” advises Dr. Gregory G. Caronis, MD, FAAOS in his blog for OrthoInfo.

He goes on to say that “walking and swimming are terrific ways to stay active and provide minimal stress on the joints. Even doing yard work or walking rather than riding when playing golf can have healthy benefits.”

Do It Now!

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: It’s never too late to start getting active. And the sooner you make a commitment to daily physical activity, the sooner you’ll become more fit, which means you’ll be more likely able to continue to live autonomously into old age. Choose an activity (or more) you think you’ll enjoy because if you don’t really like it, you won’t do it.

Think about adding some strength training to your daily fitness routine or to accompany your outdoor activity choices. For example, you could carry a couple of light hand weights while you’re out walking and use them to strengthen your arms while you walk along.

You could also employ a resistance band to do a work out outside on your patio or at the park or use one to help you warm up before a swim or before you head out on the water for a paddle around the lake. Doing some easy resistance band work will help improve not only your strength but your overall physical shape and function.

Yes, All Well & Good, But It Hurts

Not an unusual complaint when people begin to add outdoor activities to their daily routine. This is especially true if they’re not used to being active, for instance after a long winter spent indoors. But soreness should not interfere with your goals – it’s not wise to stop exercising when you develop mild soreness after starting a new program – you need to start off slowly and maintain the activity.

That soreness which develops in the early stages of a new activity will disappear as the exercise becomes a regular activity. Common advice suggests that, if a particular activity causes you consistent pain or aggravates any arthritis you may have, then switch to something else. If you experience any kind of swelling or severe pain in your joints or limbs then stop the activity altogether.

Enjoy Summer & the Great Outdoors

Meanwhile, try to take advantage of our beautiful summer weather while it lasts and combine some physical activities with your other daily routines.

Remember that if you’re taking up a sport or exercise that’s new to you, start out slowly and gently and build up to full steam ahead. Endeavour to do it regularly and consistently too. Your reward will be increased mobility and balance, more strength, a better mental disposition and best of all, possibly help prolong your independent lifestyle as you age.

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