There’s nothing more refreshing than going outside to enjoy the sun and get some fresh air as the temperatures rise. Maintaining a regular workout routine is a vital part of a healthy, active aging lifestyle. So, why not use time outdoors to get some exercise?
The great thing is you don’t need fancy equipment to put your body in motion. There are many easy, fun, and creative ways to get in a workout with things you have at home or even in your backyard. To help you get started, here are some ideas for how to get moving outdoors at home.
How Much Should You Exercise?
Staying physically fit is important at every age. Exercising as you get older helps combat age-related declines in muscle mass and strength. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults ages 18-64 and 65+ should get at least “150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity” and “at least two days a week of activities that strengthen muscles.” However, guidelines also state that you should “aim for the recommended activity level but be as active as one is able.”
Always discuss any new exercise or fitness routines with your doctor and follow any restrictions your individual physical or medical circumstances require.
Here are some easy ways to clock some time doing physical activities outdoors.
Walking around your backyard or through your neighborhood is a low-impact exercise with a myriad of health benefits. According to the Mayo Clinic, taking a brisk daily walk strengthens bones and muscles, boosts your mood, improves your coordination and balance, reduces heart disease risk, and more.
Remember to wear comfortable and supportive shoes for walking and watch out for any uneven ground, cracks, holes, or obstacles (like a fallen tree branch) that could cause you to fall or get injured.
With all exercise, start slowly. If you can only walk five minutes at a time, that’s fine! You can add more time as walking gets easier and your stamina improves.
Do Yard Work
If you’re able, keeping up with yard work adds minutes to your daily exercise log. For instance, pushing a self-propelled lawnmower around the yard to cut the grass keeps you walking instead of sitting on a riding mower. Raking, trimming shrubs, or using the weed whacker engages multiple arm and leg muscles. Always know your physical limits and take breaks or get help if you do any task that seems too hard.
Play Outdoor Games
Playing outdoor games with your family or friends is a fun way to get in a workout. Play catch with your children or grandchildren, toss a ball to your dog, play shuffleboard, yard Yahtzee, ladder ball, or cornhole with friends. Playing games helps you stay physically active and sharpens your mind as you plot winning strategies along the way.
Work Out on an Exercise Mat or Do Yoga
If weather permits, it’s nice to bring some light exercise equipment outdoors. Doing leg lifts, crunches, pushups, or jumping jacks on an exercise mat allows you to work your muscles and soak up some natural vitamin D from the sun. Doing yoga in the backyard is a good way to relax, find your center, and physically assume various yoga positions.
Give Patio Chairs a New Purpose
Instead of sitting down in your patio chair, use it to exercise or stretch. Tie one end of a resistance band to the chair and pull it out and back in to strengthen your arms. You can also stretch your arms, legs, and back. Outside Online shows simple chair stretches you can do in a short, 10-minute routine.
Climbing stairs strengthens your leg muscles and works your heart. If you have a porch or patio stoop with one or more stairs, climb up and down them for a set number of minutes. You can also do a series of “step-ups” where you stand at the bottom stair, step up on the first step and back down, and then switch feet in continuous motion.
Mayo Clinic also recommends “7 Quick Stair Exercises To Do At Home.” Please note: Stair exercises can be dangerous. Be sure your balance is good and your joints are not prone to buckling before you tackle the stairs.
Try Tree Exercises
A tall and sturdy tree in your yard makes a fantastic exercise anchor. If you’re able, rest your back against a tree trunk and do a series of squats or knee bends. Or face the tree, place your palms on it with outstretched arms and do a series of pushups. Livestrong has a 20-minute Tree Workout list.
Doing any of these outdoor exercises will help you stay active as you age and help keep you on the road to good health!
The Active Aging Series is brought to you by our partner, Cambrian Homecare. Cambrian Homecare has been assisting individuals to stay independent in their homes for 25 years. Flexible experience you can trust, when the best place is still at home.