Summer Fun & Fitness

Now that summer is finally here, it is noteworthy to review some facts to get the most out of it. More personal and family time is spent doing your favorite activities in the summer. Let’s take it outside!

FUN is the major reason active people give for exercising. The socialization that goes with it can add physical, emotional and mental health benefits. The benefits of exercise for all ages are increasing endurance, strength, balance and flexibility. If new to exercise, begin slowly and consult your doctor if you have any significant health problems. 30 minutes most days is great and it can be done in increments of 10-15 minutes at a time. Getting moving can help you manage pain and improve your strength and self-confidence. Many older people find that regular activity not only helps stem the decline in strength and vitality that comes with age, but actually improves it. Older adults who stay active will achieve a higher level of senior independence for a number of reasons. Exercise keeps both the mind and body functioning at peak performance, and it can boost your attitude as well.

FAMILY and FRIENDS: Relationship building and creating good memories helps our body release the “feel good hormones”- helping to strengthen our positive outlook and bond with those around us. These activities could include: biking, hiking, ball games, skating, swimming, scavenger hunts, frisbee, canoeing or lawn and garden work. Don’t forget to include those pets for added fun!

Fitness for seniors and those with limited mobility can include some stretching, leg raises, chair yoga, sit to stand, breathing exercises, abdominal exercises and range of motion exercises. Bring it outside if you can do it safely with an attendant or sit in front of a window watching the birds. Short walks with an assist device and pacing yourself can be very beneficial. Any routine movements on a daily basis can add to your overall health and well being.

SAFETY in the summer consists of use of sunscreen, sunglasses, bike helmets, knee and elbow pads, proper shoes, loose and light-fitting clothes and life jackets. Remember to stay hydrated. Get a head start on your water intake before you begin your activity. Divide your weight in 2 and drink that many ounces of water in a day (unless you have restrictions), make a water schedule, eat high water content fruits and veggies such as lettuce, cucumber, celery, tomatoes, watermelon, strawberries and cantaloupe. Avoid the hottest part of the day- usually between 10-3 pm. Know the signs of dehydration: fatigue, loss of appetite, muscles cramps, headache, flushed skin and dizziness. Seek medical advice if these occur.