In Florida, nice weather is something you can expect throughout the year. During the summer, however, many seniors find they are more comfortable participating in activities outside, preferring the warmth to some of the chillier winter days. And while there are a few caveats to keep in mind this time of year, summer activities give seniors a chance to reconnect with family and friends.
That said, it’s important to make safety a priority. For example, scheduling your outdoor summer fun for the morning is a good idea because it allows you to avoid the hottest, most humid time of day, which is usually early to mid-afternoon. And because older adults are more susceptible to heat stress, afternoon is a good time to head indoors and have lunch, read a book, or catch a little TV. Then, as long as you’re not in the middle of one of Florida’s pop-up afternoon thunderstorms, you might want to go back outside late in the afternoon.
Still, be careful outdoors in the summer with prolonged exposure to the sun and heat. Be sure to apply plenty of sunscreen and wear light, loose-fitting clothes, as well as a wide-brimmed hat. And drink plenty of fluids so you don’t become dehydrated.
Some activities you may want to consider include:
Going for a long walk is a great way to start the day, and being outside while the sun is still low means it won’t be that hot. Plus, walking is a low-impact activity that’s easy on your feet, ankles, knees, and hips, but still gets your heart beating a little faster and burns calories, so it’s a great form of exercise.
Direct sunlight is necessary for your body to produce vitamin D, which is required for strong muscle function and healthy bones. Just be cautious about taking care of your skin by applying sunscreen and reapplying it every two hours, or right after you get out of a pool.
This is a great way to get some cardiovascular exercise while keeping cool. Whether you’re a serious swimmer and you do laps, or you just like to splash around in the pool, swimming gets your body moving, which is always good. If you’re not into swimming laps, try simply treading water for as long as you can. And for more of a challenge, try treading water using only your arms.
Tending a small garden, whether it’s purely decorative or you’re growing fruits and vegetables, provides a great feeling of accomplishment. Plus, it’s good exercise because it involves a fair amount of lifting and carrying. As always, be careful with the heat and take frequent breaks, or even avoid the hottest part of the day altogether.
Summertime goes hand in hand with grilling, and preparing a meal for yourself and others is also a great social activity. Or, you might prefer to do your cooking in the kitchen and serve it on a back porch or patio. Preparing a meal takes some planning, too, so it helps keep your mind sharp.
- Tai Chi or Yoga
These are great outdoor activities that are low impact so they don’t put a lot of stress on your joints. Tai chi has been shown to help seniors prevent falls, which is a substantial cause of injuries and deaths among people 65 and older. Plus, tai chi and yoga can help maintain and even improve cognitive abilities.
Staying active is one of the most important things you can do as a senior. It helps you mentally, emotionally, and physically. So, pick something that sounds interesting and, most important, have fun with it as you enjoy the summer season!