Worries about falling can sometimes put a damper on recreational activities and outdoor adventures, but it’s important to remember that staying active is crucial for physical and mental well-being. Fortunately, there are plenty of recreational activities, sports, and outdoor experiences that can be enjoyed safely.

Here are some tips to enhance safety using additional tools. Let’s explore some options:

      Walking: Walking is one of the safest and simplest forms of exercise. Choose level, well-maintained paths, and consider using walking aids like canes or trekking poles for added stability. Ensure your footwear provides good traction to prevent slips. There are options to create your own walking stick or purchase a beautiful piece of art walking stick. This can make it not feel so much like an assistive device.

      Swimming: Swimming is a low-impact, full-body workout that’s gentle on the joints. Swimming in a pool with a handrail for entry and exit can enhance safety. Water aerobics classes are another great option. If you live on or near a lake, paddling out in a kayak and then sliding into the water allows for more depth and the ability to exit and enter without putting a lot of stress on the feet.

      Cycling: Cycling offers cardiovascular benefits without as much impact on joints as other aerobic activities. Using a trike can be much easier on joints and feet. It is especially helpful if balance is a concern. Don’t forget to wear a helmet for safety.

      Tai chi & yoga: Tai chi and yoga are both slow, flowing programs that enhance balance and coordination. They can be practiced indoors or outdoors and are suitable for all ages. At most you may opt for a yoga mat, towels, blocks, or other basic tools to include in your practice. Some tai chi practices use inflatable balls as part of their program.

      Golf: Golf is a low-impact sport that encourages gentle physical activity and social engagement. Consider using a golf cart or a golf bag with a built-in stand for clubs to reduce bending and lifting. You may need to opt for nine holes instead of the full 18, especially if you are recovering from an injury due to a fall but the sport allows you to slowly regain strength as needed.

      Bird Watching: Bird watching is a peaceful outdoor activity that allows you to connect with nature. Bring binoculars to get a closer look without straining your balance. Many people enjoy adding photography to their bird watching hobby. Often small groups share information about where they’ve seen certain birds and will even go out together to find the birds.

      Picnicking: Enjoying a picnic in the park can be a relaxing outdoor experience. Use a portable chair with sturdy armrests for easy seating and standing. Invite a small group to join you. A picnic can be a part of several of the other activities discussed.

      Gardening: Gardening offers physical activity and the joy of nurturing plants. Use gardening tools with ergonomic handles and consider using a gardening stool or kneeler to reduce bending and kneeling. Balance can be a challenge when gardening so use caution when walking in freshly tilled dirt or on uneven ground. Some people add occasional handrails to provide balance while in the garden.

      Adaptive Sports: Depending on your specific needs you may explore adaptive sports like wheelchair basketball, seated volleyball, or adaptive cycling if you have mobility limitations. Many organizations offer adaptive sports programs.

      Tips for Safer Enjoyment:

      • Always warm up before physical activity to prepare your muscles and joints.
      • Use appropriate safety gear, such as helmets, pads, or support braces.
      • Stay hydrated and take breaks as needed.
      • Choose well-maintained, accessible venues.
      • Engage in activities with friends or in groups for added safety and social support.

Remember, the key is to find activities that you enjoy and feel comfortable with. By incorporating these recreational activities and safety tips into your routine, you can continue to lead an active and fulfilling life while minimizing the risk of falls.

Please enjoy the next blog in our series: Fall Prevention Week: Navigating Mobility Challenges: Thriving with Vision Changes as We Age