Many seniors recognize the importance of incorporating some daily exercise into their lives, but this can be difficult when the weather makes it unpleasant, or even impossible, to go outside and be active.
However, the cold weather shouldn’t offer an excuse to plop yourself in your favorite chair in front of the television for the next several months. Even though the air outside is frightful, there are still plenty of ways to stay active and mobile throughout the winter.
Winter Exercise Ideas
Physical activity for seniors is vital to maintain a good quality of life. Exercise helps strengthen muscles and improve the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. Regular activity also helps increase your stability, which is important to avoid falls that often lead to broken bones. Exercise will even help you heal faster and prevent some chronic diseases, like diabetes or osteoporosis.
So, what types of winter exercise can you take part in this season? Here are just a few ideas:
- Join a gym: Obtaining a gym membership is a great idea not only because you will have access to all kinds of equipment, but also for the social aspect. With your doctor’s approval first, join a gym or fitness center where you can target and strengthen all parts of your body.
- Take classes: Fitness classes for seniors are often available outside of gyms at senior centers. For example, American Senior Communities’ New Energy Wellness program is available to both residents and members of the community, and offers a way for seniors to learn how to stay active in everyday life through proper use of equipment and low-impact exercises. Or, find a local yoga, pilates or even a dance class.
- Workout at home: Simply getting up out of your chair throughout the day and walking around the house can get your blood flowing and break up those long periods of time when you are sedentary. Walk around your home throughout every room, or if you live in an apartment building, walk up and down the hallways a few times. Or, purchase a few workout DVDs. There are thousands of fitness DVDs available for all ages and every type of exercise. You can spend one day doing some light aerobics and the next day stretching and doing yoga, all from the comfort of your living room!
- Swimming: Many gyms or your local YMCA have indoor pools available to the public. Swimming is a fantastic, low impact workout for seniors, and you don’t need to wait for a hot, sunny day to enjoy an indoor pool.
- Try some video games: You may need your grandkids’ help with this, but try a video game system like the WiiFit or PlayStation Move that offers another way to get active in your own home. Games like bowling and tennis are sure to help you start moving, and these games are a great way to get others involved, too.
Of course, you can always be brave, bundle up and enjoy a brisk walk in the wintry weather. Just make sure your path is clear of snow and ice before you attempt that stroll down the snowy street! Or, have a snowball fight with your grandchildren. You’ll have so much fun you won’t even realize you’re cold- and that you’re getting in a good workout!
However you choose to stay active this winter, make sure you remember that safety comes first. If you stay active, hydrated, eat and sleep well, and you’ll feel healthy no matter what the season.