Study after study has found that physical and mental exercise is a key component of longevity, maintaining health during old age, and helping seniors to prevent the onset of dementia and depression. Creating a lifestyle that is filled with physical activity and mental stimulation is crucial for senior citizens.
The Challenges of Activity in the Winter
Maintaining this active lifestyle can become difficult during the wintertime. Too often, when the weather turns cold, we tend to nest into our homes and not poke our heads out until spring. The frigid temperature, piercing wind, and slippery snow inspire the desire to sit in front of a fire, watch T.V., or not make the effort to reach out and connect with others.
This isn’t just unhealthy for the body, but this self-imposed solitary confinement is also damaging to mental health. Even more pronounced for senior citizens, spending an entire winter secluded indoors is unhealthy and should be avoided.
Stay Active, Indoors
So how can senior citizens, especially those with limited mobility, still say active throughout the brutal winter months? The following are some tips and ideas to get you up and moving this winter.
Move Around the House – getting started can be hard, so start with a small goal. Get up and walk around the house at every commercial break or every new chapter in your book. Walk up stairs, visit every room in the house - even take a visit to the basement. Changing positions and breaking up your sedentary time will help build the desire to be more active.
Visit Your Local Gym – a great option for winter workouts, yours most likely offers machines, weights, and classes for those at all levels of physical fitness. Take a rejuvenating walk on the treadmill, a 10-minute climb on the stair stepper, or even a fun class … the gym is a fantastic and sunscreen-free exercise. Also, the gym allows you to shake the winter blues by socializing with others.
Fitness DVDs – you don’t have to go to the gym to work up a sweat! There are countless workout DVDs available for almost every type of workout – and you can use them from the comfort of your own home. You lose the chance to socialize with others, but you won’t have to fight the weather to get a great workout.
Join a Group – from a bowling league, to a ballroom dancing team, a Zumba Gold Fitness group, and more – find a group whose main activity is something physical. You will enjoy the friendships and the little extra push to help get you up and out during the wintertime.
Go for a Swim – cold, snow, and wintertime don’t really inspire ideas of bathing suits and pools. However, swimming is an excellent exercise for seniors, especially those with limited mobility. Most large gyms, or even your city’s recreational center, have an indoor pool,. Swimming is a low impact exercise, which is perfect for all levels of mobility. Consider joining a water aerobics class – the organized schedule will help give you the impetus to get out of the house, and you may even make some new friends!
Winter is in full swing – try using some of these ideas for your indoor winter activities.