In the cold winter months, it can be tempting to stay snuggled under a blanket all season long. According to the CDC, however, it’s important for older adults to stay active throughout the year – including the fall and winter. In fact, it advises that regular physical activity is one of the most important things older adults can do for their health. Need some inspiration to get started this holiday season? Here are three easy ways that seniors can stay active during the winter.
Whether you’re active on social media or avoid the computer at all costs, virtual workouts are easy to find online. Sites such as YouTube offer free online classes for every age and skill level. Try search terms such as “workouts for seniors” or “easy stretching workout” to get you started.
Not a fan of searching the internet? Chances are that your local library has a variety of workouts available in DVD format. Try a “walking” workout that includes gentle movements similar to the intensity of an outdoor walk.
Once you’ve found a workout you’d like to try, don’t let a lack of equipment keep you from getting started. A towel or soft rug can easily be used in place of an exercise mat. Try swapping out canned goods for light weights. Many workouts don’t require any equipment at all – just yourself!
If you’re comfortable trying an in-person class, attending one can be a great way to meet new people. Look and see if your community offers classes specifically designed for seniors. Both virtual and in-person workouts are an accessible way that seniors can stay active during the winter.
Depending on the weather where you live, getting active outdoors might still be an option. Aim for the warmer part of the day (but don’t forget the sunscreen!). Grab a friend, bundle up in your warm winter coat and go for a light walk. Winter can be a beautiful time to enjoy nature. Look for an easy paved trail or designated walking area near you.
If you decide to venture outside, be sure to prepare accordingly with comfortable, supportive shoes and warm clothing. Many people find it helpful to dress in layers when exercising outside during the winter. That way you can shed the extra layers as your body warms up to avoid becoming overheated.
Outdoor walks are one easy way that seniors can stay active during the winter while sharing a conversation with a friend or family member. Once you find a walking buddy (or three), you might find that walking is your new favorite activity. Plus, you get all the health benefits of spending time in nature and breathing in the fresh air. Just be sure to know your limits and keep an eye on the weather – if it gets too cold, your walk might be best saved for another afternoon.
For many seniors, the thought of adding daily movement can be intimidating. If you’re not quite ready to try a full workout or lace up your walking shoes, you can still add movement. The CDC says that for older adults, some movement is better than none. Consider small ways you can add activity to your daily routine that don’t feel quite like exercise.
Doing light housework or working in a garden are great ways to add some daily movement. Even walking to check the mailbox every day can add a few hundred steps. Try to find one thing you can do every day and stick with it. Over time, you can add more as you become comfortable in your routine.
No matter what kind of physical activity you’re doing, it’s important to take it slow, stay hydrated, and not push yourself too quickly. Every person is different, and it’s a good idea to discuss any changes in your fitness routine with your doctor before getting started. The CDC also provides helpful guidelines on this page about how senior adults can get moving in a safe and healthy way.
At Advent Christian Village, we believe in looking at health holistically, which includes physical, mental and spiritual health. That’s why we’re proud to offer a community with countless options for an active lifestyle so seniors can stay active in the winter (and all year long). From stunning nature trails to group fitness classes, there’s something for every stage of retirement. Give us a call today at 1-800-647-3353 or click here to schedule a tour.