The lingering warm days offer opportunities to exercise, shop and mingle outdoors.
- Posted on Sep 12, 2019
Jennifer Cardellini is the Director for Consumer Information at Benjamin Rose Institute on Aging
Fall may be on the way, but there is still time for you and your loved one to bask in the warmer weather together. Older adults can enjoy and benefit from a variety of outdoor activities, so why not take advantage of the remaining long days and sunshine? Here are three activities the two of you may want to try as a pair before the chilly air sets in again:
1. Aquatic Exercise
If you both like the water, and want to pick up a new skill, you could try a swim lesson or water aerobics class at a local pool or recreation center. Swimming can be a delightful exercise for the entire family, and it offers a number of health benefits, regardless of all age and ability. According to the Cleveland Clinic, “…swimming is minimally stressful on the body’s joints. There’s no ground impact, so your joints are protected from stress and strain…The lack of wear and tear on the body is what makes swimming an excellent form of exercise for young children as well as older adults.” Numerous community pools and recreation centers have beginning swim classes for adults, and they may be a little less crowded now that school is in session. So stop in or call for information on what’s available. It’s important to always check with a doctor before setting out on a new exercise routine.
2. Shopping at a farmers market for the makings of a meal
Picking out ingredients and cooking healthy food together can be a wonderful way to connect with your loved one. Farmers markets flourish during the summer and fall in many communities, with a bounty of offerings from fresh produce to breads and other baked goods to lush blooming flowers and plants. It can be fun to think up a recipe to prepare and then search out the farm-fresh ingredients at the stands. For inspiration, look through family recipes and ask your loved one to show you how to make a favorite. While you learn something valuable, he or she can engage in an activity and make use of talents and skills.
The United States Department of Agriculture advises that “as we age, healthy eating can make a difference in our health, help to improve how we feel, and encourage a sense of well-being.” The foods that we put into our bodies can “reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. If you have a chronic disease, eating well can help to manage the disease.” Sharing a day centered on a farmers market can be beneficial to your loved one’s health, as well as fun and activity-rich. For information on farmers markets in your community, look in your local newspaper, watch the local news or check with city officials.
3. Exploring community and senior center activities
If you or your loved one are feeling isolated at home, joining a local community or senior center can allow you to make new friends and get involved in your neighborhood. A number of centers offer ways to enjoy the fresh air, including outings to local restaurants, dinner cruises, picnics in area parks and weekly walking clubs. Take a look at your local community or senior center’s website or newsletter to find out what’s offered every month.
These are only a few ideas. Keep in mind that there are plenty of other options to consider. If you are trying to put together an activity for your loved one and other family members or friends, check out some tips for how to arrange a successful group outing. If you are a caregiver to someone who has memory loss or is living with dementia, learn more about activities you can do together to help keep your loved one physically active.