Some folks think “staying fit” is a young person’s game, a luxury that cannot be maintained once you’ve had kids, and have had to deal with the many stresses of raising them, while juggling a career. But being fit and healthy feels great, so there’s no reason anybody should deny themselves the lifelong benefits that come from it.
Whether you’re currently fit and want to stay in shape, or are looking to reclaim the healthier lifestyle you once had, there are many activities you can do, no matter what your age. With that in mind, we’ve picked six fun activities and exercises that men and women can do, with an emphasis on making sure those with any weary joints or stiff backs won’t have anything to worry about.
If there’s one great activity where you can go at your own pace and still just have as much fun as everyone else, it’s hiking. No matter if you’re zooming down a trail, or taking your sweet time, you’ll have fresh air on your face, 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 steep or long. Fortunately, there are lots of great resources out there for finding local hikes, such as Hikespeak or AllTrails. Given that 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.
Are you worried 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’s called 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 your goggles on for this great exercise!
While yoga may 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 all ages can safely do. As the exercise has grown in popularity, medical experts have found that it is a great way for seniors to maintain flexibility and prevent muscle loss.
One of our favorite yoga “poses” comes by way of Jessica Matthews, 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 legs put together and your arms straight above your head, and place your palms together.
- Gently raise your right leg off the ground so that the toes are still on the ground and your heel is touching the inside of your ankle. (If necessary, hold on to something.)
- Balance for twenty to thirty seconds if possible.
- Repeat with your other leg.
- As your balance improves, lift your raised foot upward, resting the sole of your foot on the inside of your lower leg.
- Over time, work toward having your raised leg bent, with your foot resting on the inside of the opposite leg above your knee.
Anybody that’s visited a retirement community can tell you that tennis is a popular sport for older folks; it’s one of the few competitive athletic activities that’s great for people of almost any age. 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 from 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 combination 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 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 less running. And the paddle and ball are lighter as well, reducing any upper body strain. As a bonus, 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.
Whether electric or traditional, bicycles are a great way to get fit in a heart healthy, low impact way. And as an added bonus, you can take them a wide array of places: from beautiful natural parks to running errands around town. They’re as versatile as they are fun.
With so many great exercise options for baby boomers and seniors, the only question is – which one is for you, and when are you gonna start?
Brought to you by EVELO Electric Bicycles, the maker of amazing bikes for people of all ages and abilities.