The days are becoming shorter and the weather is getting colder. It can be hard to find the motivation to be as active as we may have been in the summer sun. Here are a few reminders on how to stay active, safe and warm this winter!
Inactivity can lead to reduced muscle mass and an increased risk of falling. Physical activity is a fundamental component of good health, but winter weather including freezing temperatures/icy conditions can cause even the heartiest people to want to stay in and hibernate. It is important to stay motivated and include physical activity in daily routines – even in the harshest of weather. Consider what you like to do during the warmer months, can these activities be tweaked for the winter?
Walking is excellent exercise – when sidewalks are too icy, malls are a great alternative. Many malls open their doors early and walkers can take advantage of the unobstructed space. There are plenty of walking groups which can provide a nice social outing as well.
Swimming can be a great way to stay active while taking it easy on your joints. Many buildings and neighbourhoods have indoor pools available. Local gyms and community centres often offer senior’s aqua fit classes or free-swim hours as well. Make sure to swim with a buddy if no lifeguard is on duty.
Exercise Classes are not all necessarily intense. There are many types of classes such as chair yoga, gentle toning and low-impact aerobics that might be suitable. If the weather is really bad and you are forced to stay indoors, consider popping in a workout DVD or following a video online. You can often borrow DVDs free of charge from your local library.
Keep Things Warm and Bright
Getting enough light is important for mental well-being. If you are unable to go outside and enjoy the sunlight, make sure your home is as bright as possible. Invest in good lighting and keep curtains open during the day. With less hours of daylight it is important to soak up as much sun as you can. Also, keep your home at a cozy temperature. Too cold and you will want to retreat under blankets, too hot and you can be left feeling sluggish.
Keep Safe and Healthy
Take good care outdoors. Wear shoes with good traction and non-skid soles. Icy and snowy walkways make it easy to slip and fall. Dress for warmth. Did you know that mild hypothermia can ensue in temperatures as high as 15 degrees Celsius? Seniors are extra susceptible to hypothermia. Your body temperature should never dip below 35 degrees Celsius. Because it can be difficult to get around, many seniors have less contact with others during the colder months. This can cause feelings of loneliness and isolation. To help avoid this, plan to meet with family members and friends on a regular basis. Even short daily phone calls can make a big difference. Stay social, make plans, and continue to do the things that make you happy.