Staying Active This Winter - Essential Tips for Seniors

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Waking up to the sound of the alarm, shutting it off, and curling back into the warm duvet – sounds familiar? Yes, we have all been there and done that. During winters, it is difficult for everyone to stick to the fitness regime, especially seniors. Those cups of creamy cocoa or hot chocolate push you further into hibernation.

But why is it important for seniors to stay active? Prolonged spells of inactivity among seniors can cause long term health issues such as –

  • Reduced bone density and muscle mass.
  • Risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Mental issues such as anxiety, depression, and feelings of loneliness.
  • Higher risk of accidents from falling.

  • With long and harsh winters in many parts of the States, it is vital to find ways to stay warm and active. This blog will give actionable points to remain physically active even in the winters.
     

    Table Of Content

    5 Tips for Seniors to Stay Active This Winter

    If you find it difficult to follow your usual fitness regime in the winters, these tips can help:
    • Engage in Fun Activities – Perform fun activities that take care of fitness simultaneously. It could be taking your dog for a walk or group dancing sessions.
    • Grab an Exercise Partner – Having a partner or a friend for exercises helps you motivate each other and stick to the regime. With a partner, you can even go for a game of tennis or badminton followed by a nutritious breakfast together.
    • Schedule your Workouts – Rather than pushing yourself before sunrise when the streets are empty, try working out in the middle of the day. Bright sunshine and some hustle and bustle on the streets will keep you motivated. However, you should schedule your exercises before meals.
    • Start your Day Right – Having the right mindset in the morning can do wonders in every area of your life, including fitness. You can begin the night before by keeping your clothes, shoes, and gym bag (if required) ready. When you get up in the morning, you can put on your favorite music that gets you going.
    • Stay Safe and Warm – Being above 60, you need more precaution during winters. Frostbite, hypothermia, or a fall can cause unwanted problems. These tips will help you stay safe and warm –
      • Layer clothes – Start with sportswear followed by a fleece jacket. Finish it with a waterproof layer to stay safe.
      • Check weather conditions – It is best to check the weather forecast the day before and prepare accordingly.
      • Know the signs of hypothermia or frostbite – Most people don’t know the visible signs of hypothermia or frostbite. Common signs of hypothermia are exhaustion, shivering fumbling hands, drowsiness, slurred speech, and confusion. Signs of frostbite include white or grayish-yellow skin, unusually firm or waxy skin, and numbness. Get to a warm room if you see any early signs of hypothermia or frostbite. Use your armpits to warm up your hands and remove wet clothing, if any.
      • Stay hydrated – We think that the body does not lose water in winters, but that’s not true. Sweating in cold temperatures can consume the water in your body faster and leave you dehydrated. It is always good to carry a small water bottle.

    5 Winter Activities Seniors Can Engage In

    Once you have prepared yourself and are ready to start the day with the right mindset, try any of these winter exercises:

    • Walk indoors – You can take a walk inside the house and calculate the steps on your smartwatch. Seeing that you can exercise indoors and achieve the same results will motivate you to keep going. Additionally, you can participate in various indoor winter activities for great mental and emotional fitness as well.
    • Find a heated indoor pool – Swimming and water aerobics are low-impact indoor activities that are not only super fun but also take care of complete body fitness. You can join a group to socialize while significantly increasing strength, agility, and flexibility.
    • Get home equipment – You can invest in home exercise equipment that is simple and easy to use. Get a pair of dumbbells to keep the muscles active and toned and bones strong. You can also get a stationary bike or ellipticals for better cardiovascular health. With the right set of equipment, you will feel motivated to engage in exercises that will help increase mobility, flexibility and strength.
    • Attend group classes or activities – Group classes are not only fun but also safe as they are usually indoors. Group activities such as these take care of your overall well-being –
      • Zumba
      • Yoga
      • Tai chi
      • Aerobics
      • Chair exercises/ chair yoga (for seniors with mobility issues)

    • Try exercises and stretches at home – Simple and fun balance exercises at home can significantly increase your mobility. These exercises include – 

      • Semi-sits

      • Upper body clams

      • Seated abdominal press

      • Low back rotation stretch

      • Side bends

    You don’t have to spend hours taking care of your fitness. Even 30-minutes of exercise greatly benefits keeping you physically, emotionally, and mentally healthy.

    Staying active in winters is simpler than you may think. The good news is that you are not alone. Others face a similar dilemma and getting in a group can quickly set the ball rolling. Once you are back from the daily fitness regime, that plate of nutritious breakfast next to the fireplace will be more satisfying.

    FAQ 

    Why is it important to stay active in the winter?

    Exercising in winter can have surprising benefits. It increases your endurance as the heart does not have to work as hard. You expend less energy and sweat less. You can burn more fat in winters and protect yourself from seasonal affective disorder (SAD) with just 30-60 minutes of daily exercise and 20 minutes of exposure to sunlight.

    How much walking should seniors do? 

    Seniors should get at least 30 minutes of brisk walking or any other moderate aerobic exercise each day. Alternatively, they should get 1 hour and 15 minutes of jogging or any other suitable vigorous exercise once a week.

    Vince Baiera

    Vince Baiera is the founder of step2health, a mobility aids and wellness company for older adults. He is a former ICU Nurse of the Cleveland Clinic and Duke University Hospital in the Cardiac ICU. With years of working on the frontlines, Vince noticed the struggles of older adults and people with mobility issues that became an impediment for both patients and their caretakers. He then designed and created the patented product, Step2Bed (and its variants) that helps seniors and those with mobility issues safely get in and out of bed. His philosophy concerning aging is to plan ahead and start with simple home and life modifications to avoid being overwhelmed at retirement.

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