Updated: Dec 16, 2019
Getting in shape at a gym or fitness studio is a great way to spend time outside.
Wait – what?
It’s true. Getting fit or staying fit helps people over 50 enjoy tennis, golf and gardening; playing with the grandkids; walking, jogging or bicycling… the list goes on and on. Strength, endurance and flexibility are essential to enjoying all of that and more, while staying safe and preventing injury.
For active adults, the physical, mental and emotional health benefits of being outdoors increase even more when they also are exercising, the National Institutes of Health found.
So, come on in, of course. Get fit with us, and then enjoy things like these eight fun outdoor activities.
Visit a park. Just being outdoors, especially in green spaces, quickly improves our health and happiness, according to new research in the International Journal of Environmental Health Research.
Play. George Bernard Shaw once said, "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." Grab a kid (or any friendly adult) and toss a frisbee in the back yard, have a snowball fight, go sledding, or even just play tag.
Walk. Find a trail, walk around the neighborhood, head to a park or a mall – it doesn’t matter. Just move your body. Walking is basic. Walking is great. Walking is the first step to so much. (And yes, the pun was intended.)
Do that out of town a bit, especially where there are hills and such, and it's called hiking. It's also great for your body, mind and spirit.
Sign up for a community run/walk or bike. It will give you a goal date and add a social element. Plus, many of these “races” are also fund-raisers for good causes.
Play your favorite sport. Time at the gym makes you stronger and more agile for tennis, golf, softball, skiing and just about every other outdoor sports you enjoy.
The same goes for gardening, which is a real workout and requires flexibility, strength and endurance just the same as those other “more athletic” pursuits.
Meditate. It’s good for focus and stress reduction, and you don’t have to chant or burn any incense (unless you want to). Start by sitting outside and paying attention to your breathing. When your mind wanders, that’s OK – keep bringing your awareness back to your breath.
The main idea is to get out and enjoy life, however you like. That research we mentioned above says spending just 20 minutes in a park improves your well-being.
And exercise indoors or outside really does make you happy.
Just like sunshine on your shoulder.