Don’t Hibernate! Here’s How Boomer Women Can Stay Active in the Winter Months
The cold chill during these beautiful autumn days signal the coming of winter. You’re probably winter proofing your home and slowly rotating in your chunky sweaters and heavy coats so that when that first snow hits, you’re ready.
But are you making plans on how to stay fit during the winter months? After all, getting at least 30 minutes of activity a day reduces the overall risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and high blood pressure in adults 50 and over.
Plus, the stronger and more flexible you are, the more stable and balanced you are. Luckily, there are plenty of fun ways you can stay fit over the winter season.
Do at Home Workouts
You don’t even have to leave the comfort of your home to get in a good workout. All you need is a little space, some workout clothes, and a mat. Start off with some gentle exercises that build up your flexibility and balance, such as yoga and tai chi.
There are plenty of free online videos you can find for beginners. Make sure you are practicing good form at all times. The best way to ensure this is to do your exercises in front of a mirror while watching a video.
Once you get the hang of each pose, you can easily transition in between them and even start adding in more challenging options.
For strength building, start off slow with some resistance band training. You can perform multiple exercises all with just a single band and some video tutorials. If you find that you’re outgrowing your current band, you can purchase another one that offers more resistance.
What sets resistance band training apart from dumbbells and even using your body weight is that you’re challenging your muscles from different angles, which ultimately helps you more in everyday tasks. After all, you’re not just moving your arms and legs up and down, you use a wide range of motions.
Play in the Snow
While the joy of snow wears off for most people once they turn into adults, that doesn’t have to be the case. Snow can still be fun.
It’s all about making sure you’re dressed for it by wearing insulating, water-resistant jackets, boots, and gloves. And, of course, don’t forget a hat and scarf. You’ll want to find one that covers your entire head. After all, 60 percent of heat escapes through your head!
So, when you think winter sports, what are the first images that pop into your mind? For most, it’s probably skiing, skating, and snowboarding. All three are great winter activities, but there are many other options available to you that don’t require expensive tickets to ride a ski lift or use a rink such as:
- Cross-country skiing
If you don’t have the spare money to spend on equipment, just put on your boots and go for a walk in the park! You’ll be surprised how much exercise you get just walking through the snow!
Join a Gym
Not everyone has a nearby gym, but if you do, winter is a great time to sign up. Many gyms and community centers have classes specifically designed for senior citizens that are low impact but still get your heart pumping.
Joining a gym can be intimidating at first, especially if you have never gone to one before, but the staff are there to help you and the members themselves are more focused on their own workout than other people.
Many gyms also offer one free session with a personal trainer. Take advantage of this option to learn about the various machines and the proper form for each one. The last thing you want to do is injure yourself while figuring out how to work the equipment.
Once you know what to do on each machine, you can get started for real. Incorporate strength training and aerobic training for best results. Stick to the machines, at least in the beginning, as these help ensure you are using proper form and targeting the proper muscles.
As you become more comfortable with lifting, you can transition to free weights if you want. There’s no shame in sticking with the machines!
Volunteer for an Organization
Staying active isn’t just about working out. It’s also about getting out of the house and involved in your community. Many seniors suffer from depression, isolation, and loneliness due to various reasons ranging from health to mobility to location.
Some studies have found that senior citizens who reported these issues saw a 45 percent increase in their risk of death and were at a greater risk of mental and physical decline. Unfortunately, once winter rolls around, these issues only increase due to inclement weather.
Socialization is important for people of all ages, but especially so for seniors who often feel forgotten. While some cities and towns do offer events for seniors, if your area doesn’t have something like this, you’ll have to proactively search for opportunities.
Find a cause that speaks to you and see if they need any help during the winter season. The best part about volunteering is that you’ll be able to interact with a diverse group of people.
What are some activities you plan on doing this winter? Have you signed up for a gym yet? Do you plan to go with a friend? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Let’s discuss more in the comments below!