Disclaimer: Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program.
Well, you did it. You injured yourself. Maybe it was a freak accident or maybe you’re just getting older and your body can’t rebound like it used to. Either way, you’re in a position where you need to slow it down a little. If you’re a Type A person, you might think that A stands for "athletic." But remember, for at least a little while, it means "Ayyyy, take it easy."
But that doesn’t mean you should lie around all day watching TV and eating bonbons either. A number of fun outdoor activities can keep you active without exacerbating your injury, and here are a few of our favorites.
Find the nearest lake, river or pool and dive in
Water aerobics and swimming laps are great ways to treat your body right while still reaping the benefits of a tough on-land session. Swimming is easy on your joints, and the water offers you built-in resistance to maintain a full-body workout. But remember not to strain whatever part of your body was injured — no need to be Michael Phelps if you have a bad elbow.
Quit yackin’ and start kayakin’
Kayaking is especially good if you have a leg injury and need to stay off your feet. It’s great because it gives you an excuse to visit beautiful bodies of water and the nature surrounding them. Plus it’s a killer workout for your arms, back, abs and shoulders. Trust us, you’ll sleep well. No water around? Try the oft-overlooked rowing machine at your gym.
Two wheels are better than none (and way more fun)
When was the last time you jumped on a bike to explore your city? Even if you’re no stranger to cycling, you can always explore new avenues and niches of town. Going slower, compared to driving in a car, also lets you notice so many more little details you’d otherwise zoom past. Plus, your body will thank you because cycling doesn’t put direct force on your joints like running or contact sports.
Grab a friend and toss a disc or two
Frisbees aren’t just for kids, beach bums and ultimate frisbee "bros." They are easy to take with you wherever you are, from the beach to the field. Take things to the next level and find a frisbee golf course to play with your friends — there’s a surprising number of them once you start looking. Plus, just like traditional golf, it’s a great way to rack up the step count. But again, this one depends on the nature of your injury; don’t play frisbee with a bad arm or back injury.
Gone fishin’, catch you later
What better way to get your feet wet (literally) and enjoy some sunshine? Fishing is the perfect relaxing activity because it gets you outdoors, and then you can choose whether you want to hike to a fishing hole or simply float along a lake. It may not be the most strenuous activity, but that’s not what you’re looking for — just a few castings and light cardio.
Go on an urban treasure hunt with geocaching
Release your inner child and let him or her roam the city in search of hidden treasure! Geocaching is a wonderful excuse to go explore little pockets of your hometown that you may have never noticed before. You can start by visiting the official website and tracking down your first few caches.
De-stress and stretch with tai chi
You may want to take a class to get going, but once you’ve found your rhythm you can always find a nice spot in the local park to practice tai chi. The slow, focused movements and deep breathing will help you achieve "meditation in motion." It’s a graceful way to improve your mood, stamina, flexibility and muscle strength all at the same time.
Life doesn’t start and stop with an injury; you still have endless ways to get outside, have fun and stay in shape.