When it gets chilly outside and forecasters begin calling for snow, you may feel like staying indoors with a blanket and reading a book. But after a few hours, grab a bookmark — because getting out and staying active in cold weather is critical for seniors.
Regular physical activity benefits seniors in many ways. Exercising can decrease your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and obesity. It can also lower your blood pressure and increase your immunity to colds. Going outside gets you critical doses of vitamin D from sunlight, which can lift your mood.
Below, we’ve compiled four ways for you to be active in the winter.
How to Exercise in Winter Weather
Before you head out:
- Make sure you dress for staying active in cold weather.
- Wear several layers and don’t forget your hat.
- Choose proper footwear that will keep you from slipping on ice or snow.
- Always bring water along.
While you may not feel as thirsty in cold weather as you do during the summer, you can still become dehydrated. Now, try the following fun activities to get your heart pumping outside!
1. Go for a Walk
The simplest idea is often also the most effective. Regular walking is accessible to just about anyone, and you can do it with friends, which is another great reason to work out — the social benefits. Find a walking path that is shoveled and in a public space. Don’t go anywhere without telling at least one person where you plan to go, and bring a cellphone for added safety.
2. Attend a Class
Some tai chi or other exercise classes take place outside year-round. You can meet new people by joining a new course, too. Ask about the activity level when you sign up, and be prepared to take breaks if needed.
3. Tend to the Garden
Winterizing your garden can be quite a workout between cutting down all the dying vegetation and protecting your plants for the winter season. Once it gets too cold to garden outside, look into indoor greenhouses in your area where you can continue to practice your green thumb.
4. Take the Grandkids Sledding
You don’t have to head down the hill yourself unless you want to! A supervisory role is just fine, and you don’t have to walk up the hill, either. By taking the children somewhere they enjoy, you will have fun, too. And everyone gets hot chocolate afterward.
Head Inside for Active Fun
Some days it’s simply too cold to go outside to exercise. In that case, have a backup plan such as:
- Join a local gym.
- Walk laps on an indoor track at a nearby college.
- Take a class at your local community center.
- Climb your stairs several times each hour.
Now you know how to keep active in the winter. But if you need some extra help with your mobility, you can contact OrthoBethesda. We treat musculoskeletal ailments of all types, and we can help you regain your range of motion. Set up your initial appointment with us today.