Winter’s chill and shorter days can make sticking to your exercise routine feel next to impossible. Oftentimes, the motivation just isn’t there, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
It’s important for seniors who want to stay active in winter to remember that cold weather can be a huge calorie-burner because your body needs to work harder, which activates your metabolism. Moving your body in the cold can also boost your immune system during flu season.
With these helpful benefits in mind, check out these winter exercise tips for seniors, whether your goal is burning calories, finding a new physical activity to try, or beating those winter blues.
Take it Outside:
For seniors, being active outside in the wintertime can take a variety of forms. It can be fun to take a walk in the snow, as long as you have the proper equipment. Invest in a pair of traction cleats from Yaxtrax or Kahtoola, which easily strap onto your shoes or boots and help you grip the snow. And classic winter activities like making a snowman or shoveling snow have fitness benefits, too, so don’t knock them ‘til you try them!
Or Stay Indoors:
Staying inside is also an option this winter, and sometimes it’s your only option! Luckily, with so many activities to try, you’re bound to find something you enjoy. If you’re not the biggest fan of the gym, you can watch exercise videos on YouTube; engage in active housework like sweeping, dusting, or mopping; dance to your favorite playlist; climb stairs; or go walk the mall. If you like the gym, why not try a low-impact fitness class like yoga or water aerobics?
Stay Safe Outside:
If you do decide to venture outside, it’s important to protect yourself from the elements. Some tips for braving the frigid air: know how to spot frostbite and be able to identify the signs of hypothermia. Do not layer with cotton clothing. Instead, use heat-trapping and moisture-wicking fabrics like Smartwool or Under Armour ColdGear, then add fleece and a thin waterproof layer. Beware of wet or icy surfaces that can cause you to slip and fall. And of course, stay hydrated!
Deal with Mental Hurdles:
It can be hard to motivate yourself to get moving during the cold winter months, when cuddling into some blankets with a cup of tea feels so much cozier. But with practice, you’ll see it’s possible to free yourself from those mental habits. If you haven’t been exercising regularly, don’t be too hard on yourself; just increase the amount a little every day. Staying active before the sun goes down can also make it easier to get moving, plus you get that extra boost of vitamin D!
It’s not always easy for seniors to stay active in winter but with a positive attitude and a bit of effort, it’s entirely possible. Happy exercising!