It’s almost that time of year again, where we take time to celebrate Memorial Day Weekend. A holiday to honor those who have given both their time and lives to freedom and to the United States of America. (Hence the term “Memorial,” it’s an entire day of remembering those who’ve passed before us.) And what better way to celebrate than by showing your respect and enjoying the outdoors? Whether you’re a veteran, current member of the armed forces, or a civilian enjoying an extra Monday off work, generally this is a weekend set aside for friendly fun.
From barbeques, to pool parties, to packing up the fishing boat and catching tomorrow’s dinner, Memorial Day allows you to celebrate freedom in the great outdoors. (Or if that’s not your thing, the great indoors.) However, as we age, some of our former holiday weekend activities will actually work against us. Doing flips off a diving board causes cramps, running intense races leave us sore and tired for days, and extreme water sports are left only for the most daring of athletes.
No matter your plans for this time-honored holiday, consider these safe, body-friendly options to keep yourself pain-free even once the holiday is over.
Relaxing on a Boat
Leave the flips and skis to the younger athletes in your party. Instead, when heading on the water (pool, lake, pond, or ocean), consider injuries or other bodily ramifications before choosing your activities. To avoid muscle aches and pains, look for more relaxing activities, such as lounging, swimming, or manning the grill. While you can certainly still take part in water-based activities, remember to consider your body’s limitations before signing up.
Heading to a Town Celebration
There are likely a number of local events honoring those who have served. Look to parades, sales, entertainment, and more for a down-home way to spend the day. And if you have other plans, consider taking just a portion of your time to check them out. Most are fairly low-key and require very little in the way of physical exertion.
Having a Picnic
When the weather is nice, there’s really no better place than to be than outdoors. Pack up a meal, invite some friends, and spend the day basking in the nice weather that comes with a day off. And if back pain is an issue, bring along supportive lawn chairs or scope out a location that comes with plenty of picnic tables.
Jog, don’t Run
If you’re signing up for a holiday race, consider the competition and what an intense race might do for your body. Instead, opt for the shorter distance or to walk (or jog) the race instead. However, those who are still in prime shape should absolutely celebrate the day with a healthy bout of exercise. Just be sure to train properly and check with your doctor before taking on anything too strenuous.
Mind the Dips
A single day of junk food binging is enough to make anyone feel awful the next day. Rather than gorging on fatty meats or dips crammed with full-fat cream cheese, consider healthier options instead. That’s not to say treats can’t be had, just remember than an entire day of unhealthy choices will last longer than the time it takes to make them.
While having a day off work can be great for relaxing and staying put, it’s no excuse to get zero movement for the day. Articulate your day with a short swim, walk, or game of Frisbee. Whatever the choice, it’s one that can keep you in better shape once the holiday season is over.