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How Seniors Can Stay Active During Winter

There are ways for seniors to stay active during winter and all year round.

Staying active is really important for a healthy lifestyle for all ages, during all seasons. But Winter can be really challenging for the elderly, as they tend to feel the cold more, and trying not to hibernate takes a lot of effort.

The cold winds and crisp, cold air can make it very unappealing to venture outdoors. But one can’t stress enough the importance of moving your body. Here you’ll gain an understanding as to why and the small things that you can do to move your body.

Why is physical activity important for seniors

At any time we need to exercise to avoid feeling fatigued. By moving your body, you keep your energy levels up and help to maintain muscle mass. Muscle mass and good energy levels help to reduce the risk of falls. Falls are a major risk for older people.

Being active also reduces the risk of several chronic diseases. These include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, chronic pain and mental illness.

With this in mind,  the positive impacts of physical activity go beyond physical health. When looking at mental health, exercise is known to reduce stress levels, and can benefit those experiencing anxiety and depression. Not only does physical activity help to reduce stress bey relieving tension and calming your mind, but it can also get you socialising.

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America suggest that by physically exercising you reduce endorphins, which are natural painkillers. They help to improve sleep which also helps to reduces stress. Studies have shown that even a small amount of aerobic exercise each day can have anti-anxiety effects.

Now that the benefits of exercise have been highlighted, what can you do to stay active in winter?

Join a Senior’s Friendly Gym

Although joining a gym requires transportation, and money, if you’re able to manage it, it’s a great motivator to get active during winter. It gets you moving albeit indoors! Many gyms now cater to seniors, with exercise physiologists employed in many of them. Exercise physiologists can design a safe exercise regime for you to partake in. Many times, they’ll also monitor your vitals before, during and after exercise to make sure that you’re working out within safe parameters.

The benefits of joining a gym are endless. Not only do many gyms offer physical activity just for seniors, but they present with a great opportunity to meet people of a similar age and demographic. And let’s not forget that at a gym, you’ll also strengthen your muscles, and improve your balance and gait.

Gyms that offer exercise classes tailored to seniors, often offer transportation to and from the gyms as well. If you’re in receipt of aged care support servicessuch as a home care package, you could use your package funding for transport to and from gym classes too. The advantage of classes is that you get to socialise, but also they run at the same time each week, making it simple to lock in regular transport.

Exercise in the Comfort of Your Home

If going to the gym is completely unaffordable for you, or just isn’t your cup of tea, home exercise could be the answer for your physical fitness. Walking may not seem so appealing during winter time. Not only can your joints ache a little more during winter, but older people feel the cold more.  But if you feel like you can take a walk or you have a dog to walk, try and pick the warmer part of the day to get out and about. Oh, and be sure to rug up first.

woman walking dogs

Other activities don’t require you to go outdoors, and don’t cost anything either. Aged Care Prepare have a helpful article with suggestions for stretching and strengtheningexercises. Contact My Aged Careto access aged care support services if you feel that you’re not able to manage daily activities on your own. You may be eligible for some in home care and support.

Be Active Through Fun

 Remember that being active doesn’t have to be labour intensive. Having fun and enjoying what you’re doing will keep you interested and motivated. You might like to partake in a seniors tap dancing class, find a heated indoor pool to swim at, or dance around your lounge room. Whatever it is, take the necessary safety precautions, and then enjoy it!

All of the above can help you to keep up your energy levels during winter months, and at any other time too. Remember to look after your personal and physical safety and have somebody with you for extra security if you need it.

Finally, being active can be fun and it gets you out and about. The physical and mental health benefits are undeniable.

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