5 Tips to Stay Active this Winter
Staying active during the winter months can be a challenge! With shorter days, colder temps, and the busyness of the holiday season, it is often harder to carve out time to exercise. Here are some tips to keep you moving and motivated this winter.
1. Exercise from home. Don’t feel up for leaving the house? There are so many resources to help jumpstart your exercise routine right from your home. Are you eligible for Silver Sneakers through Medicare? If so, check out their massive library of workout videos and live classes. AARP also offers free virtual fitness and wellness classes through their extension, Senior Planet. Looking for something specific? You can find just about anything on Youtube. Once you find a senior exercise class you like, stick with it! Keep in mind with any online exercise program, you can always modify the routine to best meet your needs.
2. Head to the gym! Love Tai Chi? Water aerobics? Senior strength class? Find classes that you enjoy and add the classes to your weekly calendar. Alternatively, meet a friend to walk the indoor track or hop on a stationary bike while you’re listening to an audio book. Most centers have affordable senior membership rates or drop-in fees (just $2 at the Williamson County Rec Center). Many fitness centers also offer free memberships for veterans and their families (YMCA, Williamson County Rec Center).
3. Exercising with a friend can help keep you both accountable! Working out with a buddy increases the likelihood of achieving your fitness goals. Plus, your workout can transform into social time. Meet at the mall to walk before the stores open then go for a coffee or chat over lunch. Make a day of it! The combination of exercise and social time is a great way to boost your mood through the dark winter days.
4. Get outside- take advantage of milder weather! Seniors can safely enjoy exercising outdoors in the winter with just a little extra preparation. Make sure you are adequately dressed for the cold. Layer up and don’t forget your hat and gloves! Choose athletic shoes or winter boots that have good traction. On the flip side, if conditions are icy- opt for an indoor day. It’s not worth risking a fall!
5. Schedule movement into your every day! Make it part of your routine. At meal times, stand up and sit down 10 times from your chair. Can you do it without using your hands? March in place during commercial breaks. Practice going up and down the stairs each morning. Challenge your balance by standing on one foot or standing heel to toe after you brush your teeth. When you are working on the computer, set a timer to remind yourself to get up every 30 minutes for a posture break. Try to incorporate walking, strength training, stretching, and balance exercises. The more you can make movement part of your day, the better.
Regular physical activity is vital to your overall health and well-being. The benefits of exercise go far beyond improving your muscle strength. It is widely accepted that exercise improves mental health by reducing stress, improving sleep, and boosting your mood. Exercise can also help lower risk of dementia. Studies show that you don’t need to be an athlete to garner the benefits of exercise. Small bouts of movement add up! Make exercise part of your everyday routine.
Motivation can waiver, but habits hold fast.