With winter on the way, staying active becomes increasingly hard to do. Between preparing for the holidays and the higher likelihood of severe weather, many of our favorite walking groups will part ways until the next spring season.

Although opportunities to get outside grow limited, unless you are an avid fan of winter sports, the amount of exercise you’ll get can plummet.

I wouldn’t want to take away any excuses from anyone who enjoys the weather justification to lay low, but there are several easy and fun ways we can remain active during the upcoming colder months!

Chair Yoga

Chair yoga is a fun and easy way to stay active indoors. Never tried yoga? No problem! Chair Yoga adapts many of the more complex positions into accessible movements for beginners.

Yoga has many health benefits, such as improved balance, mindfulness and agility. As we are gearing up for winter, chair yoga is the perfect routine to help stay warm in the cold months ahead.

Throw a Dance Party

Exercise doesn’t always have to be accomplished in workout clothes. Dancing is an excellent form of exercise as it builds muscle strength, balance and coordination as well as heart health!

The best part is that dancing can be done on your own or with a group of friends. All you need are a few of your favorite tunes and some dancing shoes.

Did you know that in addition to being a great form of cardio, dancing can even improve your memory? A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine cited that dancing can prevent the development of dementia as we age.

With so many great reasons it’s hard not to want to move those couches to the wall and hang up the disco ball!

Snow Ball Fights

Good old fashioned fun can be found in snow ball fights! If you are fortunate enough to live in a place that has a good deal of snowfall each year, getting out and starting a snowball fight can be a great work-out!

Picking up and throwing snow balls requires both arm and leg muscles. Besides, all the running around is an excellent bit of cardio. Even just a 15-minute snowball toss is half the daily activity requirement recommended by doctors.

Don’t Forget to Stretch and Hydrate

Before you head outdoors this winter, remember to do a few quick arm and leg stretches. Snow and ice can obviously be slippery, but warming up your muscles before you head out in the elements can do wonders for your balance as you walk across the icy bits.

You should also take water with you. Unpredictable weather and increased exertion against wind and snow increase the likelihood that you are outside for longer than expected.

Plus, the extra layers we put on to keep warm make us sweat, which means we need to up the intake of water we drink in the day. Drinking cold water in cold weather isn’t enticing, so keep a few water bottles out until they become room temperature!

Stay Warm and Have Fun!

Keeping up with an active routine during the winter months can be difficult. Frequent bad weather makes driving anywhere, let alone the gym, tricky.

There are, however, other ways to incorporate exercise into your routine during the upcoming months that will make it easier to pick up where you left off next spring. It is easy to want to lay around when it’s cold about, but what better way to keep warm than with a little dancing or even a snow ball fight!

No matter what kind of activity you choose, it is important to remember that safety should always come first.

Staying hydrated during the winter is particularly essential since all the extra layers can make your body sweat more than usual. Also, stretching before heading outdoors will decrease your likelihood of falling on the icy sidewalks.

How do you like to exercise? What is your favorite winter sport or exercise? Please share any insights or experiences that can help us all through the colder months.

Molly WisniewskiMolly Wisniewski has cared for older adults living with dementia for over ten years. She is a recent graduate of the Erickson School, UMBC where she received her M.A. in the Management of Aging Services. Her blog Upside to Aging is dedicated to sharing an alternative and more positive side to aging.

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