Find out how older adults can benefit from outdoor sports activities to improve their physical and mental health, while tailoring exercises to their individual conditions.
Nature and sport, a perfect alliance for seniors
Contact with nature offers countless benefits for physical and mental health, especially for the elderly. When this is combined with sport or physical activity, the benefits are even greater. Indeed, it allows the release of endorphins (the hormones of happiness and emotion) and the acquisition of vitamin D, essential for the good maintenance of bone mass, tissues and skin, thanks to the sun exposure.
Tips for a safe and enjoyable outdoor sports practice
Minimizing risk and making outdoor sports activity safe and enjoyable for older adults:
Exposure to sunlight: Sunlight is an important source of vitamin D, which is essential for our bodies. It is therefore recommended to choose sunny places, while having shady areas to rest, especially when temperatures are high. In summer, it is best to avoid the hottest hours of the day and always use sun protection, regardless of the time of year.
Constant Hydration: Staying well hydrated during sports is crucial, especially for older people, who are more vulnerable to dehydration. As we age, the sensation of thirst decreases, so it is important to ensure regular water consumption, even when not thirsty.
Appropriate clothing: Older people are more sensitive to cold, so it is advisable to wear warmer sportswear, even in mild weather, to maintain a good body temperature. This is especially important in places like the mountains, where temperature changes are more extreme.
Recommended sports activities for seniors
Here is a list of recommended sports activities for seniors:
Strength Circuits: Parks can become open-air gyms, offering all the benefits of a traditional gym, such as socializing and improving muscle strength, but in a more fun, open environment. Strength training is essential at any age.
Hiking or walking: Walking in nature, fields or idyllic landscapes stimulates the brain more through contemplating the beauty of natural environments. In addition, the air is generally cleaner, and these activities are slightly more demanding than just walking. The many routes, slopes and lengths of the courses allow seniors to practice this sport safely.
Swimming: Swimming is a very complete, low-impact sport, which reduces the risk of injury. In addition, some pools offer shallow pools for people who are less comfortable in the water and accessible to people with limited mobility.
Other activities: In addition to strength and cardiovascular exercises, there are other disciplines to stay active: dance, cycling, Pilates, yoga… These activities help improve coordination and agility, important physical qualities to develop. To improve adherence to physical activity, it is essential to find the discipline that we enjoy most and with which we feel most comfortable.
Finally, it is always recommended to consult with a physical activity and sports professional to determine which sport is best suited for each individual based on their personal conditions.
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