During the cold winter months, it can sometimes be difficult to find the motivation to just get out of bed, let alone get up and exercise. While it may seem tough to think of activities that can be done during the winter, there are actually a variety of great options. There are local group classes and activities at gyms and pools, as well as simple stretches and exercises that can be done at home. Older adults shouldn’t let the winter months turn them into couch potatoes; there are so many health benefits that come from regular exercise, so it shouldn’t be ignored.
If transportation is available, an indoor pool can be a terrific place to get some exercise in, especially during the winter. Swimming is a low-impact activity which is great for the joints and the muscles, and it’s especially beneficial for people suffering from arthritis. Many pools also offer group classes for activities like water aerobics or water yoga. Water exercises have been shown to increase strength, flexibility, and agility among older adults, as well as improve cholesterol levels.
Mall walking is another great way to stay active during the winter months when it’s too snowy or icy to walk outside. Malls often open before the stores themselves do, so there’s some time for mall walkers to have the halls to themselves before shoppers start to show up. Mall walking is also a safe way to get some walking in, as malls are usually well-lit, clean, and have level surfaces. Walking has been shown to have a variety of benefits for older adults, including healthier bones, muscles, and joints.
Many gyms or community centres offer group classes that older adults can attend to stay active. Popular classes include activities like yoga, tai chi, aerobics, and Zumba. Chair exercise classes are also offered for people who may be dealing with mobility issues. These classes provide a great opportunity to get exercise on a regular basis while meeting new people and socializing. Bowling leagues are also popular among older adults, and it’s a great way to stay active while enjoying some friendly competition.
Going to the gym or the pool isn’t necessary to get a good workout in; there are plenty of activities and exercises that can be done at home. Yoga is a fantastic way for older adults to improve flexibility, improve balance, and keep bones healthy. It’s also easy to learn using DVDs or online video tutorials. There are also a variety of stretches and balance exercises that can be done at home to improve mobility and reduce the risk of falls. Bodyweight exercises or other calisthenics like sit-ups or squats are also great ways that older adults can improve strength and coordination.
Investing in some exercise equipment at home can be a great way for older adults to add some extra strength or cardio training to their regimen. A basic pair of dumbbells can be used to burn fat and build muscle in the arms, chest, and back with various exercises. Larger machines like ellipticals or stationary bikes are also great for improving cardiovascular health. These machines are better for older adults than treadmills, as they’re lower impact and aren’t as hard on the knees.
Older adults who decide to go out and walk during the winter should ensure they stay warm and safe. It’s important to wear proper winter attire, including a thick jacket, hat, gloves, scarf, and boots. If it’s a snowy time of year, it’s a good idea to wait until sidewalks are plowed and salted. Icy sidewalks covered in snow can lead to dangerous falls. Those who do decide to go out should take it slow and watch where they step, and make sure they wear proper footwear with enough traction.
Just because outdoor conditions aren’t ideal during the winter months, it doesn’t mean that older adults can’t stay active. Whether it’s exercising at the pool or the gym, walking around the mall, or working out at home, any type of exercise is better than none. It may be tempting to take it easy during the winter, but older adults need exercise just as much as anyone else, if not more so. This winter, older adults should put in the time and effort to exercise and improve their health – they won’t regret it.
Wendy studies English Language and Literature at the University of Ottawa, where she has won numerous awards for her writing.
Katie is a member of Welbi’s Customer Experience team! She has a background in communications and recreation and is passionate about older adults, exercise, coffee and people.
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