Winter fitness is an important part of life for those in the 50+ age range. It’s of course easier to work out in the warmer months, especially if your preferred workout is a brisk walk or jog, or something outdoors. But just because the cold months drive individuals indoors doesn’t mean you should skip out on a few months’ worth of workouts.
It’s essential to keep your body active during all times of the year, regardless of your age. Even for seniors, there are plenty of ways to stay active during the winter. In fact, for seniors, it’s especially important to find a way to stay active. As our bodies age, they experience degeneration and weakening, which means finding new and innovative ways to continuously strengthen our bodies is a vital part of maintaining our health.
Exercising year-round can help older adults avoid things like:
Here’s our tips for seniors working out in the wintertime.
Walking is still one of the best workouts anyone can do, especially for seniors. Walking is a great way for seniors to stay active in a healthy and safe manner.
Walking helps to lower the risks of heart disease, blood pressure, and diabetes while preventing strain injuries, strengthening your bones, and muscles, and refining your balance/coordination skills. For an added health benefit, try moving your arms more, or carrying light dumbbells.
Indoor walks can be done on an indoor walking track, in a mall, or even better in the comfort of your own home on a treadmill.
When weather permits, taking your walk outdoors is another great way for seniors to get a workout in the wintertime. Make sure to take proper safety precautions when doing so such as dressing in layers and staying hydrated. Even during the winter, your body needs the proper fluids to successfully complete the exercise.
If the temperature seems questionable, or there’s ice on the ground, then it’s probably best to stay indoors. Walking on unstable or ice-laden terrain can lead to injury so stick to the treadmill on those days! Check weather conditions before going out and wear proper gear. Finally, protect yourself by wearing the right clothes, shoes, and protective gear for your hands, head, and ears.
Setting up an in-home gym is a great idea for any senior. It doesn’t have to be complicated, think- a piece of cardio equipment, some light weights, and depending on your workout preferences an additional piece of equipment such as a leg extension bench.
Not only does this let you customize a gym to your preferences, but it’s also very cost-efficient. There are many affordable options when it comes to weights and cardio equipment.
Some pieces of cardio equipment to consider include a treadmill, elliptical, step machine, rowing machine, or cycle bike.
Finding the right time to work out for you is important. For some, this will be first thing in the morning, and for others, the afternoon is better. The important thing is to find a time that you like working out and then schedule your workouts. Doing this will ensure you don’t skip workouts and be more consistent in your routine.
Help your future self stay active by preparing everything you need the night before your scheduled exercise.
Some of the things you can do include:
While the same principle applies throughout the rest of the year, it’s especially important to be cautious of sustaining an injury in the winter. Slipping on ice and cold temperatures can put seniors at a greater risk of injury. Cold temperatures inhibit blood flow to the muscles, which can lead to tighter muscles and a limited range of motion. This means that slipping and falling holds a greater danger than usual, especially for older individuals.