The cold winter months can make it difficult for anyone to stay as active as they’d like, especially seniors. However, no matter what the thermostat says outside, seniors need to be mindful of getting in at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise each week. Additionally, seniors should try to incorporate muscle-strengthening activities at least two days a week.
Benefits of Exercise for Seniors
Exercise is good for you no matter what your age. Regular exercise plays a vital role in helping you sleep better, maintain a healthy weight, improve mobility, boost your immune system and help ward off or better maintain chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis. Some recent studies also suggest that regular exercise may reduce cognitive decline, including memory loss and certain forms of dementia.
Winter Exercise Tips
Ready to keep it moving this winter? Here are some simple ways to stay active:
- Go for walks indoors. Whether it’s at an indoor track at your local fitness center or high school, or taking some time to exercise your body and your mind at a local museum, there are plenty of opportunities for seniors to walk indoors away from the harsh climates of winter. Even something as simple as taking a few extra laps around the grocery store or an indoor shopping center or mall is enough to get your blood circulating and your heart pumping.
- Get outside when you can. It’s not uncommon to have a few unseasonably warm days during the winter. Be sure to take advantage of the opportunity to get some fresh air by going for a walk outside. Dress in light layers so you don’t get too cold or too warm. Be sure to wear appropriate footwear and avoid walking outside if it is icy.
- Join a local gym, fitness center or YMCA. One of the easiest ways for seniors to keep active in the winter is to join a local gym or fitness center. They’ll have everything you need to get moving. Not sure how to use a piece of equipment? Just ask the staff. They’ll be happy to show you how to safely use any exercise machines or equipment.
- Try a senior-friendly fitness class. Many gyms or fitness centers offer classes designed with seniors in mind such as yoga, tai chi, water aerobics and strength training. These classes are not only a great way to stay active, but also the perfect way for seniors to stay socially active.
- Tackle a few chores. Sometimes the weather is so bad, it’s just not a good idea to leave the house. Avoid the temptation to snuggle up on the couch and stay sedentary. Instead, think about any chores you can tackle inside the house. Something as simple as cleaning the living room or organizing a spare closet is a great way to keep yourself busy and get your body moving.
Remember to always consult your doctor or physician before starting any new exercise routine. And if you’re new to exercise, always start slow and easy. Going too fast and too hard can increase your risk of falls or injuries.
Helping Seniors Stay Active at Episcopal SeniorLife Communities
At Episcopal SeniorLife Communities, we understand how important regular exercise is to keeping seniors active, healthier and more independent as they age. Our Neighborhood Programs offer a number of wellness and fitness programs designed with seniors in mind, as well as on-site health and fitness centers, making it easy for every member. to stay active in the winter and all year long.
If you or your loved one is interested in learning more about our Neighborhood Programs or considering a move to a senior living community, contact Episcopal SeniorLife Communities today to learn more.