Fun Adventure Ideas and Outdoor Events for Active Adults

Medicare Benefits Solutions
Mar 2, 2022

Older adults who stay active and engage in outdoor activities can enjoy a wide range of health and wellness benefits. Whether you participate in sports, enjoy organized fitness classes, or simply like to walk around your neighborhood, you may feel better physically and mentally. Once you start spending more time outside being active, you may feel more energetic, stronger, and healthier overall.

Outdoor Adventures for Adults

Whether you prefer fun, adventurous, or easy outdoor activities for adults, there is something available for every fitness level. You may have time every day or may have to schedule time outside around a busy calendar – but setting aside time for activities can make a difference in how you feel in all parts of your life. Some people prefer to combine outdoor activities with social interaction and enjoy connecting with friends and family over golf, snowshoeing, or hiking.  If you prefer to enjoy moments alone with nature or take solo activities, there are ways to do that safely, as well.  

Of course, if you are trying out new outdoor activities that require a degree of fitness, please talk to your physician first to make sure you take any necessary precautions. And it’s always a good idea to have water, healthy snacks, and a phone with you when you are doing something active – and if you’re going outdoors alone, make sure you let someone know where you’ll be. 

There are so many outdoor activity ideas to choose from. You may already be accustomed to outdoor activities, hobbies, or sports, but it can be fun to consider your options and see what sparks your interest. 

Fun Outdoor Activities for Adults

Depending on where you live and seasonal restrictions, you may have the chance to enjoy some relaxation with your time outside. If you have local lakes, parks, or recreation centers, you may have access to an array of possibilities. For example, a morning out on a lake fishing might appeal to you, while swimming, golf or yoga could be more your style. Pickleball, tennis, or basketball courts may be available through a neighborhood association. 

If you’re asking “what’s pickleball?” you may be surprised to learn that it’s one of the most popular outdoor activities for adults, especially for retirees. The game is celebrated as a fun, social and aerobic activity that does not over-stress joints and muscles. 

Pickleball throws together facets of badminton, whiffle ball and table tennis. Joan Pritchard, a competitive rowing fan, came up with the game’s name in 1965. According to Pickleball Magazine, Joan based the name on an analogy to the participation of rowers from multiple universities thrown together for pickle boat races in the 1930s. The game was invented by three men, one of whom was Joan’s husband, Joel Pritchard. 

NPR Morning Edition described pickleball as an “addictive sport” that is “exploding in popularity.” Pickleball courts are an amenity in many retirement communities throughout the country, and an effort is even underway to include pickleball in the Olympics.

Popular Outdoor Adventures

The American Heart Association reminds us that “there are undeniable benefits for your mental health when you spend time in nature, such as lower stress and better memory.” You can add adventure to the mix through camping, canoeing and bike touring. One of the most popular adventure activities for older adults is hiking. 

WebMD touts benefits and shares precautions for hikers over age 60. Some of the benefits of hiking include: 

  • Reduces the risk of falling and bone fracture
  • Helps you avoid certain diseases like heart disease, colon cancer, hypertension and diabetes
  • Improves muscle strength and endurance
  • Promotes conditioned muscles, and healthy joints and bones
  • Controls joint swelling and arthritic pain
  • Lifts your mood and sense of well-being

It’s important to prepare before heading out for a long walk or hike. Consider some of the following:

  • Get clearance from your doctor before you plan your hike.
  • Work up to long hikes with daily strolls, stretching and short trails.
  • Research the trail in advance to find one that has the right distance and incline for you.
  • Check the weather forecast before you head out.
  • Hiking with a group is safer, but if you prefer solitude, share the location details with someone you trust in case it is necessary to track you down.
  • Don’t forget essential apparel and supplies to prepare for sun, rain and insects.
  • Shop for items specifically made for your journeys, such as hiking boots and a walking stick.
  • Since you may lose cell service, buy a personal locator beacon (PLB), a small portable device that can transmit a distress signal.
  • Bring an emergency kit with first aid, medication and extra food.
  • Have fluids with you to stay hydrated.

Easy Ways to Enjoy Fresh Air and Sunshine

You don’t have to be adventurous to reap the health benefits nature offers. Easy outdoor activities for adults may take the form of dog walking, nature photography, picnicking, gardening or bird watching. Browse the farmers market, attend a craft show, or attend a concert in the park.

The American Geriatrics Society encourages you to embrace nature in your backyard by eliminating the self-imposed pressure to do something because it’s good for you. It’s OK to take it easy and just have fun. “See if it’s possible to not expect anything in return. Feel the freedom of slowing down and appreciating what’s around you.”

Outdoor Activities for Adults Near Me

As you search for “outdoor activities for adults near me,” keep in mind that it’s good to have a backup plan for days that bring inclement weather. It’s easier to stick with an exercise regimen if you participate in some activity every day without allowing yourself an opt-out option, especially if you live in a region with four seasons.  

You may want to try a gym membership, and many gyms offer a free trial period. If you live in colder areas of the country, you may want to use your trial period in the winter months, when outdoor activities for adults are not enticing. Many Medicare Advantage plans include fitness programs membership, such as SilverSneakers. SilverSneakers is available at 15,000 locations across the country and includes outdoor recreation and wellness opportunities.

If you live in an area where traditional outdoor activities for adults are available indoors, you can go swimming, play pickleball and shop at the farmers market year-round. A farmers market may be set up on the town green from spring to fall and then held in an indoor community center when winter crops are in season. Explore options through your town’s recreational department, local newspaper, or neighborhood app.

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