5 outdoor exercises for older adults

Do you want to practice physical activity after 60 years? We propose 5 outdoor exercises for older adults with which you can start.

Last update: September 22, 2021

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), from the age of 18 people should get a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week. For those over 65, the agency recommends including multi-component activities. That is, those that prioritize functional training, balance and coordination. This is why we suggest 5 outdoor exercises for older adults.

Physical activity is something that must be maintained throughout life. During the later stages it is of great help to prevent or reduce complications related to hypertension, diabetes and heart disease. The outdoor exercises for seniors that we have prepared will help you age with a healthy lifestyle.

The best outdoor exercises for older adults

Most adults quit physical activity after age 60. Those who continue to exercise generally limit their hours to walking. Despite the fact that outdoor gyms are becoming more common, and that studies support their use by older adults, few dare to try the machines, because they are not adapted for their age.

In this sense, the alternative may be outdoor exercises for older adults. It is a safe, healthy option that also has benefits.

If done in a group, they are an excellent method to combat depression and anxiety related to loneliness. So, we present you a selection of the best exercises.

1. Cycling

Cycling is one of the best outdoor exercises for older adults. According to the researchers, a 45-minute bike program, 4 days a week, provides excellent health benefits for those in their 60s. Those who practice this sport increase their strength, endurance, balance and flexibility.

Another study published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, in 2017, endorses short cycling routines to improve walking ability in older adults. In this way, participants can increase speed, neuromuscular function and coordination in just a couple of weeks.

For all this, we do not hesitate to recommend cycling as part of the outdoor exercise routine for older adults. It is an activity that it should be practiced as much as possible in a group, with the necessary security measures and without exceeding the resistance level.

Cycling has health benefits that include muscle strength, but also balance.

2. Hiking

Also know as hiking, it is an activity that allows you to connect with nature. Evidence indicates that it is one of the best outdoor exercises for older adults if short-term results are desired. In just 7 days of mountain hiking the static balance is improved, muscle mass is strengthened and walking speed is enhanced.

The changes in elevation, the mutation of the terrain on which it is traveled and the speed of the group make this activity different from walking. More experienced adults can try trekking. It is similar to hiking, only it is not done on previously indicated paths.

3. Stand up paddle boarding

It is also known as SUP and is another of the outdoor exercise options for older adults who live near the ocean or a lake. Paddle boarding is a safer option than traditional surfing, since you have a paddle or paddle at hand with which to balance yourself against the swaying of the waves. In addition, it can be practiced in calm waters, such as lakes.

This discipline improves balance, coordination, strengthens the muscles of the middle and lower trunk and allows you to enjoy the water spaces around you in a different way. Since you can choose from different sizes of boards, you won't have a problem finding one that you feel comfortable with. It is not necessary to have knowledge of surfing to start.

4. Yoga

Yoga is not an activity designed to be practiced enclosed in four walls. Although you can attend classes indoors or practice it at home, you can also develop it in nature. A park, a square, a mountain, the vicinity of a lake, any place is the place at the moment of pleasing you.

Following studies and research in this regard, yoga has multiple benefits for people over 60 years of age. Improvement of static and dynamic balance, increases flexibility and muscular power of the extremities. Not to mention the benefits on a psychological level.

5. Jogging

Jogging or practicing jogging It is another alternative when it comes to outdoor exercise for older adults. According to studies and research, it is a recommended activity for people over 60 years of age. Lowers blood pressure, improves balance and coordination, strengthens muscles and enhances cardiorespiratory performance.

It differs from running in terms of intensity. Where possible, older people should avoid the latter. The impact on the joints and the cardiac and respiratory demand is something that can have more negative than positive consequences.

It is preferable to jog after 60 years, so that it does not affect the joints intensely, as it happens when running.

Outdoor Exercise Tips for Older Adults

Now that you know some outdoor activities for older adults, it is time for us to give you some tips to practice them. Although all sport is good for health, it is very important to consider a series of variables to avoid accidents.

From the hand of National Institute on Aging we suggest the following:

  • Plan a visit with your GP for it to assess your general health. Never start playing sports if you have not completed this step.
  • Use the right tools and clothing for each activity. If possible, consult an expert for advice in case of doubts.
  • Whenever you exercise, spend 10-15 minutes to warm up all your muscles. This will prevent injuries and maximize performance.
  • Adapt each session to your physical condition. Never demand more from your body than it can give you.
  • Try to do all of your training routines with at least one partner.
  • Always have a device on hand to communicate in case of an emergency. Also, let at least two people know where you will be exercising.

Another essential tip is to suspend the activity if you do not feel comfortable with the pulmonary, cardiac or muscular demand. If you have not done any kind of sport for several years, it is natural that you find it difficult to catch the rhythm during the first sessions. Remember to follow up with your doctor about any incident you report.