As the temperatures drop outside, it can be tempting to just stay indoors and snuggle up on the coach. However, for seniors in particular, cold temperatures are no excuse for staying sedentary. In fact, finding ways to regularly exercise and stay active in the winter can also help seniors sleep better, maintain a healthy weight, increase mobility, ward off winter colds and other illnesses by boosting the immune system. Plus exercising can decrease your risk for developing, or allow you to better maintain, chronic conditions such as diabetes, osteoporosis and heart disease.

Some recent studies also suggest that getting the recommended 2.5 hours of moderate exercise each week may also help reduce your risk for cognitive decline, as well as decrease your chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

Winter Exercise Ideas for Seniors

There’s no question that regular exercise can help seniors live longer, more independent lives as they age. Make sure you keep it moving this winter with these exercise tips for seniors.

  1. Lift weights. Doctors recommend seniors incorporate low impact strengthening exercises such as lifting weights into their exercise routine at least two days per week. Doing so can help improve bone density and increase muscle strength, both of which can help increase overall mobility and reduce your risk of falls.
  2. Sign up for a senior-friendly fitness course. Many local gyms or fitness centers have courses designed with the exercise needs of seniors in mind. And it can give you the ability to try a number of different exercises including yoga, weights, water aerobics, tai chi and more.
  3. Walk indoors. Walking is a great exercise for seniors any time of year, but cold temperatures, snow and icy sidewalks make it dangerous to walk outside. Move your walks indoors by either visiting an indoor track or getting in steps at a local shopping mall or museum. If you get a warm day during the winter, take advantage of it and get outside. Be sure to always wear appropriate footwear and dress in light layers to avoid overheating. And steer clear of any icy or snowy areas.
  4. Build up your at-home gym. Having some of your own equipment at home can ensure you’re able to keep up with your exercise routine even when the weather is too harsh to go anywhere. Exercise DVDs, at-home treadmills, stationary bikes and free weights often don’t take up much space and are the perfect starting point for any at-home gym.
  5. Go for a swim. This low impact workout is beneficial to your entire body, including your heart, lungs, muscles and bones. Activities like swimming laps, water jogs or walks, or water aerobics are a great way to get a workout in. And because the body is weightless in water, it’s the perfect activity for those with joint issues or chronic pain. Look for an indoor swimming pool at your local fitness center or gym.

Always be sure to speak with your doctor before starting any type of exercise program. He or she may have certain activities they recommend or want you to avoid based on your specific health and fitness levels. If you’re new to exercise, be sure to start slow, with ten minutes a day, building up to 20 to 30 minutes a day over time. Doing too much, too fast can increase your risk of injury.

Stay Active & Healthy at Western Home Communities

At Western Home Communities we have the services and amenities seniors of all ages and fitness levels need to stay active in the winter and all year long. From on-site wellness and fitness programs, as well as our on-site senior-friendly gyms, residents are never far from the amenities they need to meet their fitness goals. This is all in addition to our many senior-friendly living options and services, all designed to ensure seniors have easy access to the things they need to stay active, healthy and independent.

Looking for a senior living community that helps seniors live life to the fullest? Contact Western Home Communities today for more information and to set up a tour.