Summer is here, so it's the perfect time to cool off with water adventure activities. Even if your joints aren’t quite what they used to be, there are plenty of low-impact, senior-friendly activities that are far from boring. That’s right—your beautifully aging body doesn’t have to give up its youthful ways.
Ready to make a splash? Here are some suggestions for eight low-impact water adventure activities that are fun and benefit your health to boot.
Good old-fashioned swimming is gentle on the body and joints. Moving through the water increases bone density, which reduces the risk of osteoporosis, and you can always go at your own pace—slow and steady wins the race! Just make sure to stay hydrated.
If you aren’t fond of swimming laps, water aerobics has all the advantages of the water without the swimming caps. Aqua aerobics increases cardiovascular health, builds your strength, and slows age-related loss of muscle mass. Even seniors at risk for falls can start balance exercises in the pool; falling only creates a splash. Many senior centers, local swimming pools, hotels and recreational centers offer classes.
Not into classes? No problem! Find a pool and try water walking. Walking in water—Aquajogging—can be done in any shallow pool or in deep water with a floatation belt. The buoyancy of water supports your body’s weight making it ideal for reducing stress on the joints. Water walking even burns more calories than land walking since water has more resistance than air.
Fishing is a great activity for all ages. Even if you have with limited mobility, you can still catch some big game, whether you’re casting from the shore or a pier. Get the grandchildren involved and teach them a thing or two. Any fin is possible if you don’t trout yourself. Try it, just for the halibut!
Sailing can be an exciting change of pace from being on land—and Ralph Lauren attire is completely optional. From pontoons to mini yachts to motorboats, there are many possibilities for having a great time. A boat with a shade covering is ideal. Make sure to wear sunglasses, sunscreen and bring proper hydration. Tell them Santiago sent you.
River tubing is an excellent combination of adventure and relaxation. Simply lounge on a tube while floating down a river, or, for the more adventurous, find a river with some swifter rapids to carry you down. Enjoy the ride while the river does all the work.
Adventurous elders can get out on the cool water and grab a kayak! Kayaking works the arms and core while your legs get to hang out and enjoy the ride. Take it easy and choose a calm body of water to get some practice, then head out and explore your local lakes and rivers.
Stand-Up Paddle Boarding
Hawaiians have been paddle boarding for centuries—they used it to keep in shape when waves were not big enough to surf. Now paddle boarding is all the rage all over the world! Grab yourself a board and try this phenomenon. To do this activity, you need a paddle to propel yourself across a surface of water while standing on a paddle board. Stand-up paddle boarding increases your balance and strength as you propel yourself through the water. Your body uses almost every muscle while out on the water, and you get some great views as well. Paddle boarding is best on placid lakes and rivers or in calm ocean surf.
Have you ever experienced marine life up close and personal? Snorkeling is a perfect activity for all ages. It is a wonderful way to see the beauty under the sea without the hassle of scuba equipment. You can snorkel in almost any body of water, but the best snorkel spots have warm water, good visibility and something interesting to look at near the surface. Shallow reefs are a great place to snorkel. Wet suits are a good idea for colder water and older bodies.
Don’t give up exploring just because you have reached your golden years. This is the time in your life to try new, exciting activities you have never tried before—and the water is a great place to start!
Shayne Fitz-Coy is the Co-CEO and President of Alert-1, an aging-in-place technology company headquartered in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Shayne has a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Harvard College, a Masters in Business Administration from Stanford, and a keen interest in any affordable tech gadgets that improve the daily life of seniors.