It’s not all fun and games, engaging in physical activity outside also provides a slew of health benefits for seniors. In fact, almost 8% of deaths in adults over 70 are attributed to physical inactivity alone. Outdoor games with friends, family and loved ones offer social aspects for your mental health, keep you out of the vitamin D deficiency zone, and nurture a sharp mind with score keeping. The benefits of physical activity for older adults is also important because it keeps you strong for daily activities in your home. This summer, team up your mental and physical health and engage in these fun outdoor games:
In this lawn game, also known as bean bag toss, players take turns throwing corn kernel-filled bags at a raised platform with a hole at the far end for points. The game was invented in the 14th century in what we now know as Germany.
Essentially the same game as Blind Man’s Bluff but in water, Marco Polo emerged around 1965 in America. One player is chosen as “it” and closes their eyes, trying to tag the other players to be “it” next by calling: “Marco!” The other players call out: “Polo!” to direct the “it” player by their voice.
This lawn game involves hitting wooden or plastic balls with a light-weight mallet through hoops or wickets for points. A version of the sport was first believed to be played in 13th century France by peasants, with the Scotts later creating golf out of it and the Irish turning it into what we now know as croquet.
Played by two people, players alternately toss horseshoes at stakes in the ground about 40 feet away. Originating from the game of quoits, Roman officers played it as early as the 1st century and the game wasn’t introduced to North America until colonial times by English settlers.
Bocce ball is actually an ancient game steeped in Egyptian and Roman history. The game is played with two teams, eight larger balls and one smaller target ball with an objective to toss the large balls closest to the target ball. Players strategically knock their opponent’s balls away from the target ball each turn.
Mini golf, or putt-putt, is an offshoot of golf that only focuses on putting but on a mini version of its parent game. Players win by having the lowest score, which ultimately the least amount of putts it took through the obstacles to get to the hole. Origins of mini golf can be traced back to Scotland in the 1820s for female golfers.
A great outdoor game, scavenger hunts (or treasure hunts) have a prepared list or clues defining specific items or actions for the players to collect or complete. The concept evolved from ancient folk games but a gossip columnist popularized the game with the New York elite in the early 1930s.