Shorter days, cold temperatures and slippery conditions can leave seniors wondering how to keep active in the winter. If you’re used to going on a daily walk or attending a group exercise class, staying inside can feel like an obstacle to fitness and wellness. But it doesn’t have to be. Prioritizing your wellness routine is important when Seasonal Affective Disorder may be bringing your spirits down. To help you stay healthy and happy, we’ll share some of our favorite winter wellness tips for seniors.
Why You Should Keep Up Your Fitness in the Winter
Maintain Muscle Mass and Endurance
A regular fitness routine helps you grow your strength and increase your stamina. Your cardiovascular and pulmonary health will improve, and you’ll experience higher energy levels. Stronger muscles improve your balance and stability, as well, so you’re less likely to experience a fall.
Prevent Chronic Conditions
Exercise has been proven to help prevent or delay a number of chronic illnesses, including diabetes, osteoporosis, dementia, stroke, cancer and heart disease.
Improve Mental Health
Exercise increases the production of endorphins, your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters. Thanks to endorphin production, exercise can ease anxiety and depression, reduce stress, improve sleep quality and increase self-esteem.
Winter Wellness Tips for Seniors
When the weather turns chilly in the winter months, it can become more difficult to find your motivation to exercise. But when we’re already facing seasonal affective disorder that comes with shorter days, we really need the physical and emotional boost that fitness and wellness provide.
1. Explore YouTube Workouts
There are some remarkable video workouts you can do from home. You can find a favorite channel and stick with it or add variety with new channels and new types of exercise. You can search for a routine that interests you, but to help you start, here are some suggestions of workouts for seniors on YouTube:
2. Use What You Have at Home
You don’t need a ton of fancy gym equipment to move your body. You can use soup cans or water bottles as hand weights. Steps and stairs are great for cardio and strength training. There are also many effective exercises you can do with just a dining chair.
3. Dance It Out
Dancing is a terrific cardio workout, and it adds the therapeutic effects of music. Put on some upbeat tunes and break out those moves.
4. Supplement Workouts with Healthy Food
The right nutrition keeps your body working better, keeps your mood up and gives you more energy. Talk to your doctor or a nutritionist about your individual requirements, but in general, you’ll want to round out your diet with protein, fiber, calcium, vitamin D and B vitamins.
5. Stay Hydrated
We don’t think of hydration as much when it’s cold outside, but drinking water is still vital in the winter months. Your body’s cells, tissues and organs need water to function correctly. And staying hydrated can even bolster your immune system.
6. Talk to Loved Ones
Even when you’re not getting out as much, tend to your emotional and social wellness by keeping in touch with friends and family. Set up regular calls or video chats to stay connected to each other.
Residents in great senior living communities have access to a team of professionals who are all focused on senior wellness and passionate about providing the best health resources. If you’d like to know more about the wellness resources at Sedgebrook, contact us. We’d be happy to tell you more about dining, fitness programs, clubs and councils, and more — everything that keeps residents healthy, engaged and happy.