The winter months are always tougher on people than other times of the year. It’s cold and dark all the time, which makes us want to stay in all the more. Especially this year, with the pandemic, it’s harder to do the same activities we used to enjoy. It’s important, though, to make sure you’re staying active and healthy no matter what’s going on outside!
Physical activity is one of the most important things an older adult can do to maintain their health. Moving more and sitting less can be difficult, though, which is why today we’re talking about a few ways you can safely stay active (and have fun) this winter.
Before you add a new exercise routine to your schedule this winter, there are a few things you should do first:
- Check with your doctor before making any changes to your routine. You don’t want to accidentally do something damaging to your health!
- Stay warm if you’re going outside. Cool air can be refreshing sometimes, but you should still bundle up any time you’re in the cold. If temperatures are too low, however, stick to indoor activities.
- Keep hydrated! Drinking water before, during, and after exercising is an important step to staying healthy and making sure you’re getting the most out of your activity.
- Involve friends or family to stay active and social together. Just remember to practice safe social distancing when you’re together. Classes and other activities over Zoom can be fun too!
Take a Winter Walk
Walks are an easy way to stay active no matter the time of year. If the weather isn’t too bad where you are, you can go for a quick walk outside—just remember to bundle up! You can also find indoor places to walk with friends or family, like the mall or a gym. It’s important to follow proper social distancing protocols when in public or exercising with others.
Adding 30 minutes or more of walking to your normal schedule can not only help you stay active but can improve your health in other ways. Benefits of walking can include:
- Improved heart health
- Lower blood sugar
- Reduced pain
- Strengthened muscles and bones
- Boosted mental health
- And more!
If you’re looking for an easy solo activity to do at home, you can invest in at-home exercise equipment, like a treadmill or stationary bike. One great perk for these, aside from them being conveniently located right down the hall, is that you can make them as fun as you want. If you tend to find normal exercise boring, then you can listen to music or an audiobook or even watch TV while you work out. Pick a 30-minute show and walk or bike in place while you watch.
If your strength isn’t what it used to be, there are also other indoor exercise equipment made to use while sitting. Ask your doctor and do your research to find out what equipment options might be best for you.
Online Classes during Winter Months
If going outside or somewhere public isn’t an option for you all the time, then there are plenty of other at-home options, too. These classes, offered for all fitness levels, are a great way to add in your 30 minutes of exercise while staying safe and healthy at home.
You can look for videos offered by organizations like AARP or the YMCA or you can just search YouTube for a class your skill level. You may even be able to try something new! A few options could be:
- Strength training
- Tai Chi
- And more!
If you’re able, these are also great classes to do with a buddy. Even through Zoom, you can have an accountability partner in a friend or family member.
Cleaning and other everyday activities, like cooking, getting the mail, and yard work, can be turned into moments of activity. The most important part isn’t how long you’re moving or how much you’re moving, just that you are moving. Staying in one place for hours on end isn’t doing you any favors. Spend a day cleaning out the closet you haven’t touched in years or even just take short breaks while your show is on commercial to empty the dishwasher or grab the mail.
Crafts and Puzzles
Crafts, puzzles, and other similar activities are a great option for people with low motility during the winter months. They give you a chance to move around while you paint or knit and help keep up with your mental dexterity. There are a ton of options here, too, that don’t just involve arts and crafts. You can also bake a cake, play a musical instrument, or do a bit of indoor gardening. Small tasks can do more than you think they can. Plus, they’re fun!
Having some amount of activity every day is one of the best ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Don’t be afraid to mix things up, too, and try something new! You don’t have to do the same walk around the block every day if you don’t want to. Just remember to be safe when you’re doing any type of activity and maintain proper health protocols during the pandemic. We’re here to make sure you have the best health possible as well as health plans for your Medicare. If you’d like to speak to a trusted Core Insurance Advisor, schedule an appointment here.