How to Stay Active During the Winter Months

November 08, 2019

As fall and winter roll around, it can become a challenge to find the motivation and methods to stay active. The days are shorter, colder, and rain or snow may prevent you from going outdoors. It takes some creativity to get the exercise necessary to remain healthy.

Maintaining physical activity is important for everyone, but is especially vital for older adults. The need to maintain physical fitness increases as we age. Daily exercise not only keeps you healthy, but it also helps you lead a happier life throughout your retirement years. 

Both the physical and mental benefits are numerous; they include:

- It helps to maintain healthy muscle mass and bone density

- Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease by lowering blood pressure

- Reduces arthritic pain by lubricating joints

- Reduces the symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression

- Helps to prevent cognitive decline

While there is no doubt that our physical fitness is essential as we get older, the methods and resources available may not be as obvious as temperatures drop. It's important to bundle up and stay warm if and when you do brave the outdoors. However, there are many ways to stay active indoors as well. Here are a few suggestions to help you stay fit and active.

Join a gym. Many gyms have discounts and specialized classes during winter months. Programs like SilverSneakers® can provide a budget-friendly way to stay active and build a social support group, a health and fitness program designed for adults 65+ included with many Medicare Plans.

Invest in a mini-peddler. Use one on the floor for leg exercises or on a table to work out the arms. If you don’t have any equipment use everyday household items, such as food cans, gallon jugs, and stairs, for added resistance. Unpack groceries and clean your home to get your blood pumping.

Make use of technology. You or a caregiver can find these an endless amount of exercise programs on TV or the internet. YouTube is a useful resource for indoor exercise routines. There are many apps that can help track your activity and progress. A pedometer can be a good incentive to be active daily!

Take advantage of local resources. Go to a mall, museum, senior center, or other indoor public space where you can walk around safe from the cold. Some malls even have mall walking fitness clubs. Inquire with your local mall to see if you can join one near you.

Always check with your doctor before you start a new exercise regimen to ensure safety. And remember to always stay hydrated. Don't forget to think outside the box. There are many more opportunities to stay active than you may think. Although it can take a little creativity and planning, the benefits are well worth it.

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