No matter what your age, being fit feels great and has tremendous health benefits. Some people think that staying healthy is just for the young, and that once the stresses of adulthood and having a family have taken a toll, there’s no way to reclaim that lifestyle.
Fortunately, there are a handful of fun and easy activities that anyone can do to take back their health. In fact, as you age, staying in shape is even more important, as it keeps your heart healthy and can not only dramatically increase your lifespan, but make those years all the more enjoyable. But with joints weary and back stiff, we made sure to pick out six activities that ANY older person can do, without worrying about injury.
If there’s one great activity where you can truly go at your own pace and still just have as much fun as anybody else, it’s hiking. No matter if you’re zooming down the trail, or taking your time, you’ll have fresh air on your cheeks, the smell of nature filling your nostrils, and beautiful views and vistas to take in on every side.
Novice climbers may want to take heed not to start on trails that are too long or steep. Fortunately, there are lots of great resources out there for finding local hikes, such as Hikespeak or AllTrails. And since hiking burns 350-500 calories per hour, and is quite easy on the body, this is a great way to start getting back in shape while having a great time.
While yoga might sound like something just for crazy college kids, that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, yoga is a great, low-impact activity that people of any age can safely do. As the exercise has grown in popularity, medical experts have found it to be a great way for seniors to maintain flexibility and prevent muscle loss.
One of our favorite yoga “poses” comes by way of Jessica Matthews, who is an assistant professor of exercise science at Miramar College. She recommends seniors start with a “Tree Pose,” which helps improve balance (and can reduce your risk of falling.)
- Stand up with your two legs together and your arms straight above your head, then place your two palms together.
- Slowly raise your right leg off the ground, while keeping your toes planted and your heel touching the inside of your ankle. (If it makes you more comfortable, hold on to something.)
- Balance for 20 to 30 seconds. (But if you’re not comfortable for that long, stop whenever you get uneasy.)
- Repeat those steps with your other leg.
- As your balance strengthens, lift your raised foot skyward, resting the sole of your foot on the inside of your lowered leg.
- As you progress, work toward having your raised leg bent, with your foot resting on the inside of the other leg, above your knee.
Are you concerned about banging up your knees, or rolling an ankle? Fear not, we’ve still got a great exercise for you – swimming! This sport is low in impact, but will still get you in shape as it burns a heck of a lot of calories.
Swimming is what we call a “cardio” or “aerobic” exercise, meaning that it helps keep the heart healthy. Your heart-rate goes up, more blood flows through your body, and your risk for issues like coronary heart disease is dramatically lowered. Other bonuses are added flexibility, more toned muscles, and a reduced risk of osteoporosis. So strap on your goggles for this great exercise!
Anyone that’s visited a retirement community can tell you that tennis is a popular sport among older folks; it’s one of the few competitive athletic activities that’s great for people of almost any age. In fact, we’ve even seen some pretty great tennis matches where a sixty year old faced off against a sixteen year old! As long as you have an opponent of similar abilities, tennis turns into a great game that you can play for hours, without having to worry about getting too worn out with running or jumping.
As an added bonus, there’s doubles tennis. When you’re playing two on two, you can involve your friends, or a spouse, and also ensure there’s even less court for you to have to run around. Best of all, this makes the game even more social, as you can both play with existing acquaintances, or use it as a way to make new friends.
Have you ever heard of pickleball? This new sport may have a silly name, but it’s growing in popularity very quickly, especially with the 60+ crowd. Don’t worry, there are no actual pickles involved; instead, think of it as a combo of badminton, ping-pong, and tennis. And now that people the world over are learning just how much fun this game is, you can find pickleball leagues for you to join just about anywhere.
While anyone can pick this sport up easily, we’d most highly recommend it to those who are interested in tennis, but want something simpler to play that’s even easier on the body. A pickleball court is about half the size of a tennis court, so there’s far less running. And the paddle and ball are light as well, reducing any upper body strain. Plus, you still have all the fun social aspects of tennis, including the ability to play doubles.
You could say we saved the best for last, because in our opinion, there’s no activity quite as great as bicycling. Whether it’s around town or on a bike trail, biking is not only fun and healthy, but a great way to get around in a jiff as well. Like swimming, bicycling is an aerobic / cardio exercise, meaning it’s very heart healthy. It’s low impact as well, as your legs are simply spinning circularly, never hitting the ground in a way that might damage your knees.
That said, some people haven’t biked much since they were young, and may be a little wary of getting back on one. Fortunately, there’s a great option – electric bicycles! With an electric bike, you can pedal when you want, get a little assistance from the motor on tough hills, or just cruise along on full electric mode if you’re feeling tired. This means no more worrying about going too far and not having the strength to get back. No more getting overly sweaty. No more scary wobbling on uncertain terrain. We’d say that electric biking makes the sport worry-free.
Best of all, modern electric bikes are light-weight, super easy to maintain, and guaranteed fun or your money back. They help you build muscle in a stress free way that’s easy on the body. So if you’ve been thinking about getting back in shape, there’s no better way to start than with a fun new electric bike. We’ll see you out on the trail!
* Brought to you by EVELO Electric Bicycles.