5 Fun Outdoor Activities to Help Older Adults Stay Active

5 Fun Outdoor Activities to Help Older Adults Stay Active

Many people know how important it is for toddlers and school-age children to explore their outdoor environment through physical activity and play. However, some may not realize that those habits are just as essential for older adults to improve energy levels, reduce stress and preserve muscle mass.

By engaging in outdoor physical exercise and fun, creative play, older adults can build connections with others their age and spend more time with family and friends. We’ll discuss the benefits of outdoor activities for older adults and how you can implement these activities in your retirement community or local park.

The Benefits of Outdoor Activities for Older Adults

Older adults can take advantage of outdoor play and exercise’s many social, physical, cognitive and emotional benefits. Let’s look at outdoor activity’s top benefits for older adults.


Staying physically active is essential for all human beings, regardless of age. As adults age, they may become more sedentary and spend less time outdoors or engaging in any type of exercise. Outdoor physical activity can help them prevent certain health problems, such as:

  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Decreased bone and musculoskeletal health

Research shows that remaining active can also reduce the likelihood of falls in older adults and make activities of daily living easier, which may help them stay independent longer.

By engaging in outdoor physical activities in a communal space, older adults have the chance to meet new people and build connections.

Social and Emotional

Loneliness and feelings of social isolation are common in older adults. Research indicates that social isolation in older adults can significantly affect their health, contributing to anxiety, depression, high blood pressure and even premature death.

By engaging in outdoor physical activities in a communal space, older adults have the chance to meet new people and build connections. Community connections can help provide a sense of purpose, boost mood and enhance overall well-being.


Studies show that regular physical activity can help improve cognition and overall brain functioning. In other words, physically stimulating exercises can help older adults improve their thinking abilities and memory.

Additionally, regular moderate aerobic exercise like walking can help stimulate the brain’s ability to build and maintain new network connections. By participating in new activities and socially engaging with others, older adults may experience a reduced risk of conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

5 Outdoor Activities for Older Adults

Regular exercise helps strengthen muscles and improve balance. The CDC recommends that all adults 65 and older participate in at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week. However, many older adults may have mobility issues that require more mild activities to achieve a healthy amount of exercise. Here are some hobbies and fun activities for older adults that can help them stay physically active and build social and emotional connections.

1. Gardening

Gardening is a relaxing activity that older adults can easily incorporate into their daily routines to provide plenty of mild exercise. Retirement community residents can build small gardens for flowers, herbs or vegetables. Older adults who live in their homes can perfect their own landscaping or create a community garden where the neighborhood can work on this activity together.

Gardening can be a fun side project that allows older adults to grow their own food or flowers to give to loved ones. It also allows them to spend more time outdoors and cultivate something beautiful. By digging up weeds and planting new foliage, older adults will get plenty of much-needed aerobic activity in their day.

2. Bird Watching

While you might think of bird watching as a sedentary activity, it has the potential for so much more. Older adults can join a local bird-watching club and go on various adventures to spot rare and unique birds. They can also take pictures or document the different types of birds they see in their own communities, helping them incorporate walking into their daily routine and encouraging them to explore nature.

This calming activity is an opportunity for older adults to learn new things and teach others about them. It’s also self-paced and lets them spend more time outdoors as they search for a particular bird to complete their collection.

3. Craft Shows

Craft shows and farmers markets are great ways for older adults to socialize and engage in fun activities. These events often feature live music and art and provide a great opportunity to spend time with family members. If an older adult has a talent for something like painting, gardening or woodworking, craft shows and farmers markets give them the chance to sell their products within their communities.

Older adults can also simply spend the day walking around and meeting people who enjoy the same activities they do, from handmade jewelry to organic foods. This mild activity can help older adults feel like valued members of their community as they meet skilled artists, collectors or people who share similar interests.

4. Family Games

Playing games outdoors with family and loved ones is a great way to get mild exercise. In a local park, older adults can invite their family and friends to play cornhole, horseshoes, charades or tennis. Playing games outdoors lets older adults socialize, boost their mood and use their muscles for various actions.

These games can also give older adults the chance to spend more time with younger family members. Extra family time can help reduce feelings of exclusion or isolation they might experience during more rigorous physical activities.

5. Playground Fitness

One of the most effective ways to encourage physical activity in older adults is to provide an outdoor playground with fitness equipment for people of all ages. For many older people, gyms and fitness centers can seem intimidating and may not offer options that meet older adults’ age and mobility needs.

A designated playground with fitness equipment can encourage older adults to feel more confident in their abilities. They can get in their daily exercise while enjoying the vitamin D and pleasant weather outdoors. They can also invite their friends and loved ones to enjoy playground activities that suit their ages so everyone can enjoy some physical exercise together.

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Promote Health and Happiness With an Outdoor Playground for Older Adults

Building an outdoor playground for older adults gives them opportunities to meet new people, connect with the environment and reap the benefits of physical activity. At Playworld, we know that play and exercise can build community and experiences that enrich the lives of children and adults alike. We’re dedicated to creating playgrounds that allow everyone to participate, regardless of age or ability. With our outdoor fitness equipment, you can encourage older adults in your community to learn new skills and lead a healthy, active lifestyle.

With equipment from Playworld, you can empower older adults to feel more independent. Help them improve their flexibility, muscle strength and circulation with our stretching products, LifeTrail® Outdoor Wellness System and ENERGI® fitness systems. To learn more about how to take your playground to the next level, reach out to us today or request a quote online to get started.

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