When the weather outside is frightful, the last thing you want to do is leave the house. It’s human nature to want to hunker down and hibernate as winter’s days grow shorter, darker, and colder.
However, it’s important for older adults to keep physically active all year long. Exercise helps keep chronic health conditions at bay while improving your balance, strength, and mood.
Even so, it can be hard to find fun and safe ways to stay fit when Old Man Winter is raging outside. Here are some ideas to help you get off the couch when the mercury plummets.
What if Your Health Gets in the Way?
As we age, our physical abilities change. You may be living with a chronic health condition or recovering from an injury that limits your stamina, strength, and mobility. You may not even be able to leave your house to take advantage of gyms or community centres.
If you’re worried about the safety of starting a new fitness routine this winter, consider reaching out to a home health care agency for assistance. These agencies send health care professionals to help you in the comfort of your own home.
An agency like Integracare offers licensed physiotherapists and Personal Support Workers (PSWs) who can guide you through exercises safely, acting as a spotter and cheerleader. Home care agencies can also accompany you to a fitness centre if you prefer.
The Importance of Physical Activity for Seniors
Physical activity is essential to living joyfully as you grow older. It helps you stay physically strong and agile, which can help you reduce your chances of a fall.
Staying activity is also a great way to combat SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Also known as the winter blues, this disorder can cause depression in some older adults when they don’t get enough sunlight. This can disrupt your circadian rhythm and interfere with your serotonin levels, which negatively impacts your mood.
3 Simple Activities for Seniors
Walking is one of the best ways to stay active for seniors, even in the winter. It’s a simple, free, and low impact way to improve your balance and strength.
Don’t like the cold? You can join the many mall walkers who stroll through shopping centres. In fact, there might be a senior’s walking group you can join. After doing a few laps around the mall, you can meet with your new friends for a coffee.
Consider swimming laps or joining an aquafit program this winter. Swimming is another low impact way to get moving, making it a perfect activity even if you suffer with arthritis.
The buoyancy of the waters takes all the weight off your joints, at the same time it provides resistance. It helps relieve the pain and stiffness of arthritis while building muscle and stamina.
Check to see if your municipality offers recreation programs. These classes are often subsidized by the city, so they wind up being more affordable than lessons provided by private gyms and fitness centres.
Many municipalities offer a range of group fitness for seniors, including chair yoga, tai chi, and cardio classes.
Stay Active & Stay Safe
While keeping fit may be harder in the winter, it’s still possible. Sign up for a swimming lesson or join an indoor walking group. And remember, home care agencies are there to help you do it all safely.