You’re retired, so you want to relax. But you also know how important it is to stay physically active. Even if you haven’t in the past, it’s time to get started, make a plan, and purposefully move around on a more consistent basis. While numerous opportunities for indoor exercise may well present themselves on a regular basis, you may also wish to consider doing some outdoor exercise. It is, after all, very enjoyable to be out in the fresh air, surrounded by mother nature, while you pursue physical fitness.
But is it safe to go outside and exercise? If you don’t live in a retirement community, but rather, in a residential neighborhood, how safe is your neighborhood? As you get up and get moving, here are some suggestions as to how to stay safe.
Plan Ahead with Safety in Mind
If you’re going to exercise outside, plan ahead with these safety precautions:
- Make sure you have proper footing for your activity by wearing appropriate, sturdy shoes.
- You’ll be safer if you’re seen by others (brightly or light colored and/or reflective clothing).
- Make sure there are other people around and your activity area is well lit.
- Let someone else know when you expect to be back and where, specifically, you’re going.
- Bring your cell phone, a small amount of cash, emergency contact information, and your ID with you.
In Rural Areas, How to Walk Safely
- Look for a stable, smooth roadside surface.
- Whenever possible, walk on a path or sidewalk but watch out for tripping hazards, unevenness, etc.
- Face oncoming traffic when walking on the side of the road.
- At all times, stay alert.
- Choose routes that are safe, well-lit, and well used.
- If possible, only during hours of daylight, limit your walking.
In Urban Areas, How to Stay Safe
- City parks are good places for jogging, walking, etc.
- Remember, when crossing traffic, look left, right, and then one more time, look left again.
- If you’re crossing a street or walking/running at the roadside, never assume you are seen by drivers. If you must cross the street, don’t create a situation in which you would have to rush. Wait for traffic to clear.
- Watch for narrow shoulders, narrow bridges, etc.
- As much as possible, stay clear of traffic. If there’s a flat surface beyond a guard rail, you may opt for that area for protection.
When It’s Hot Outside
- Heatstroke is a major risk when exercising in hot weather. If you or someone else shows symptoms, medical help should be summoned.
- As your body warms, remove layers of clothing.
- Clothing that is loose-fitting and light-colored is best.
- Make sure plenty of liquids are being consumed (fruit juices, water, etc.).
- Opt for an air-conditioned, indoor area if the weather will not permit you to exercise outside safely. Always check the forecast.
When It’s Cold Out
- Hypothermia is always a threat in cold weather, so know the signs and symptoms. Don’t let any extremity get too cold while you’re outside.
- Wear gloves, a scarf, a hat, and a waterproof jacket or coat if it’s rainy or snowy.
- Loose clothing, in several layers, is the best idea. You might lose body heat if blood flow is restricted by tight clothing.
- Before you go out, do a little warm-up with light arm pumping, walking, etc. Your muscles need to warm up before you attempt strenuous exercise.
- Be very careful of icy sidewalks, snow, etc.
- Once again, always look at the weather forecast before you venture out. If it’s going to be exceptionally cold or windy, exercise indoors this time.
Enjoy Indoor or Outdoor Exercises at Our Retirement Community
Our retirement community has a heated swimming pool outside. We also offer health, wellness, and fitness programs for those who like group participation. Don’t forget to attend the dances we have scheduled on a regular basis for a little extra but fun exercise. You may even decide to pursue a bit of yoga or sit-and-be-fit in the privacy of your one- or two-bedroom apartment. It’s all up to you.