Colder temperatures and blustery days mean wrapping yourself in your comfy blanket and snuggling on the couch, maybe to read a good book or watch a movie and have a nice hot beverage. But what happens when you finish your tea or hot cocoa and reach the end of the book or movie?
Just because the days are shorter and it’s cold outside doesn’t mean you have to just chill out in your chair. In fact, staying active in the winter is super important for everyone, and especially seniors.
According to the National Institute on Aging, seniors should try to work up to 30 minutes of energetic activity each day. Four or five days a week is good, every day is best. And you don’t even have to do all 30 minutes at once, you can break up your daily activity into three 10-minute sessions per day.
Talk To Your Doctor First
If you’ve been inactive for a while, don’t just jump into 30-minute workouts. Talk to your doctor first to learn what activities are best for you to begin. Your level of daily activity is an important topic to discuss as part of your ongoing health care regimen.
And even if you already have a warm-weather routine, read on to find out how to keep up the momentum when it’s cold outside.
Look At All The Benefits Of Staying Active!
There are real rewards from keeping active year round.
There are a few things to remember before heading out for your favorite activity.
Take a friend or family member. Not only is there safety in numbers, you and your buddies can hold each other accountable. The more active you all are, the healthier you all will be.
Dress smartly. Bundle up to get from your house to your activity, but layer on loose, activity-appropriate clothing that won’t have you overheating once you start moving. Get completely dry before you head back out into the cold so you don’t take a chill.
Warm up wisely. Before you jump right into your fun, take some time to warm up your muscles. Walk around a bit and pump your arms before you gently stretch.
Listen to your body. Exercise shouldn’t cause pain. Stretch only to the limits of your body and don’t overextend yourself.
Breathe properly. When you’re doing strength exercises, be sure to breathe out when you lift and breathe in when you rest. Don’t hold your breath!
Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water before, during and after you work out. You may not feel thirsty, but you can still be dehydrated.
Getting motivated to stay active in the winter can be a challenge.
Don’t let the cold days discourage you or your loved ones from staying active and healthy. Here are some ways to keep your body moving while you wait for summer. Grab a friend and:
Join a Gym
You don’t have to be a bodybuilder to frequent your local gym. See if they have classes for seniors or trainers skilled in working with older clientele.
Go For a Swim
If you belong to a fitness center that has a heated pool, take advantage and swim a few laps a couple of times a week. And don’t forget low-impact water aerobics!
Find a Yoga Class
Yoga is an all-around great exercise. You can improve your strength, balance and flexibility as well as your mental focus and mood.
Find a weekly dance group and sashay the winter away. Studies have shown that dancing, such as ballet, has many benefits for seniors, including increased balance, flexibility and motor responses.
Go For a Walk
Bundle up and head outside, even for a few minutes. Just make sure you have on the proper attire and are wearing sturdy walking shoes. If the weather is unfavorable, head to the mall or an indoor track and take a few brisk laps. Just make sure it’s not too crowded so you’re not being jostled while you walk.
On those days when Old Man Winter is set on keeping you at home, there are still plenty of exercises and activities you can do indoors to keep yourself moving.
You can improve your balance by doing a few simple exercises. For example, stand on one leg for a count of ten, then the other, holding on to a chair as needed. You can also practice walking in a straight line down a hallway, heel to toe, touching the wall for extra balance.
If you have stairs in your home, even one or two, you can do a some light step aerobics that will help with endurance and balance. Be sure to hold on to the handrails.
Wall push-ups, gentle chair squats and side-to-side shuffles are all easy exercises you can do right at home. You can even incorporate them into your daily chores.
Set up a gaming console on your TV. Not only are you able to play full body movement games, you can connect online with friends and family for a little friendly competition and a big motivation boost.
There are several exercises you can do right in your chair.
Not Every Activity Needs To Be Exercise
Although exercise is great for your body, it’s also good to remember to keep your mind active when the season turns to long nights and cold temps.
Join a community center. Indoor games and crafts with like-minded people will help keep your mind sharp and stave off loneliness and boredom.
There are many options to help you stay active even in the winter. Try a few, or several, until you find a daily or weekly routine that works for you.
Remember, the key is to be consistent and do a little something every day. The longer you practice an exercise, the easier it will become and the more benefits you will receive from regular participation. You will notice yourself getting stronger and more flexible.
Schedule an appointment with your doctor to discuss your personal winter activity routine. It’s not too late to begin a daily habit of healthy movement designed to take care of you!
Take care of you. Take care of yours. We’ll be here to help you with both.