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4 great summer workouts for seniors

Fitness | May 18, 2016

Summer is nearly here, which means you're probably thinking about taking your workouts back outside. If you have grown a little too accustomed to indoor activities and are not sure about the best and safest workouts to do this summer, here are four suggestions:

"Water aerobics is great for reducing joint pain and building strength."

1. Water aerobics

According to Senior Lifestyle, water aerobics is low impact, which means it is great for reducing joint pain and building strength. It can help with arthritis and can even contribute to an increase in bone density. A few water exercises to try:

  • Flutter kicking: Hold a kickboard out in front of you and flutter your legs to push yourself across the pool. If you don't have a kickboard, face the side of the pool, hold the wall and flutter kick to produce the same effect.
  • Arm curls: Hold your arms out in front of you and curl up and down. Use water weights for increased resistance.
  • Aqua jogging: Jog/walk across the pool or in place to get your heart rate up.

2. Walking or hiking

Walking can be incredible exercise, and it is a great way to enjoy the beautiful weather. If, however, it is too hot to walk outdoors, Seniors Guide suggested taking a stroll indoors, somewhere with air conditioning. You could take a walk inside a mall, a gym or even your own home. The outdoors is preferable but safety should also be a No.1 priority. If the sun is beating down too hard, stick to the air conditioning.

"Believe it or not, gardening is actually considered good exercise."

3. Gardening

Believe it or not, gardening is actually considered good exercise. It does, after all, require a lot of movement, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, gardening is a great method of physical activity.

Before you break out your gardening tools, make sure to visit the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention's website to find out how to stay safe while gardening. A few of its suggestions include wearing safety goggles, gloves, insect repellant with DEET and high rubber boots. In addition, tuck your pants into your socks to decrease the risk of ticks and other insects latching onto your skin.

4. Taking a class

Your local senior or community center probably offers summer exercise classes geared specifically for people your age. Use your preferred search engine to check what sorts of classes are available in your area. Alert1 suggested looking into classes in yoga, Tai Chi and golf.

Summer workout safety precautions

There is nothing like exercising in the great outdoors, but if you do plan to conduct your summer workouts outside there are several safety measures you should take.

The middle of the day is always hottest, so avoid exercising at that time. Early mornings and evenings are the safest time for physical activity. If you exercise in the middle of the day, you will face an extremely hot sun and all the risks associated with it.

Hydration is also extremely important, regardless of the time of day you work out. According to Colorado's Prime Time for Seniors publication, you should not wait until you feel thirsty to drink water. Instead, you should be hydrating before, during and after your workout no matter what. A feeling of thirst usually means you are already dehydrated, so you need to make a conscious effort to hydrate before that time comes.

Other precautions:

  • Always wear sunscreen with a high SPF
  • Wear bright colored, loose fitting clothing
  • Spend as much time in the shade as possible.
  • If you are in pain or feel nauseous, dizzy or any other bad feeling, stop working out immediately.

You should also consult your doctor before beginning any new activity to make sure you are healthy enough to do so.