‘Tis the season for leaves to fall. The days are growing shorter, and temperatures are dropping. With autumn in full swing, many regional locations have weather that’s just right for enjoying the outdoors. In addition to the pleasant temperatures, humidity levels have declined, as have mosquito populations. Nevertheless, as we experience the High Holy Days and head further into late autumn, chilly weather may soon discourage people from spending healthy time outside.
Exercise is vital for folks young and old, but seniors, in particular, struggle with cold weather. As our bodies age, the ability to regulate internal temperatures is diminished. This is why older people tend to turn the thermostat up in the winter, and forgo cool air-conditioned rooms during the summer. Yet, exercise is vital for the elderly, so it’s important for them to know how to stay active in times of cold or inclement weather.
Taking Long, Indoor Walks
When temperatures are too cool for a leisurely stroll at the park, folks don’t have to give up on long walks. There are a lot of great, indoor-walking venues freely available, such as the spacious walkways of large shopping malls. Doing laps inside will not only help elderly individuals stay in shape, but they can also run errands or go shopping.
Further options may be found at indoor walking tracks within your community. If you don’t live near a mall or track, you can always walk in place in the comfort of your home. Simply throw on a good movie or motivating record and stroll to your heart’s content.
Hitting the Gym
Another great way to stay in shape is to head to a gym. You’ll typically find treadmills, stationary bikes, and other equipment uniquely suited to seniors. Often, gym equipment reduces impact on your body, which in turn will allow you to reap the benefits of longer workouts.
Elderly folks can also lift light weights and take advantage of other opportunities in gyms, such as signing up for classes with coaches. Many retirement communities and large apartment complexes have on-site gyms as well. These are often free to the residents, so it’s likely you won’t have to spend money on a membership.
Lifting Weights at Home
If you’re not comfortable with making the commute to a nearby gym, bring the gym into your own home. A few dumbbells are often enough to positively stress your muscles and stretch your body. But take it slow. It’s wise to begin with light weights, and slowly increase the weight as you grow stronger and gain endurance.
Taking a Dip
If you live in a warmer climate than we have here in Cincinnati, you may still be able to hit the beach, even during the winter. For the rest of us, try exploring the possibility of using indoor pools in your area. Of course, you could always get a membership with the Mayerson JCC, where a heated pool is available year-round. Other options might include joining a YWCA, YMCA, or similar organizations.
Water-based exercise is uniquely beneficial for seniors trying to get in shape or maintain their level of fitness. Most popular exercises—like walking, jogging, tennis, pickleball, and basketball—can be hard on your joints, muscles, and bones. Water eliminates jarring impact, and provides buoyancy and support, making the pool an exceptional place for older folks to exercise.
Using Workout Videos
One of the easiest ways to remain active when the weather is cold or uncooperative is to dial up a workout video on the living room TV, and follow the flow of the routine. These videos walk viewers through various exercises and typically provide engaging and inspiring music. Look for programs or workouts that are specifically tailored for older adults.
Getting a Pet
Cats, dogs, and other pets can offer wonderful companionship and keep seniors engaged. While a dog may prefer to fetch at the park, having some indoor fun with a foam ball can also offer you and your pet some decent exercise. The same can be true for your interplay with cats. Feline instincts are notoriously playful, so a bit of string, a rambunctious kitty, and a devoted period of time can add up to a fun workout.
Would you like to learn about additional ways to stay active? AgeWell Cincinnati offers a wide variety of services and connections that promote active lifestyles and well-being. Our mission is to provide seniors in our community with access to resources specifically tailored to their interests and hobbies. Give us a call at 513-766-3333 or send us a message online to get started.