The winter months here in Arizona make a welcome change from the heat of summer. We’re lucky that we can play golf and hike the trails in the Sonoran Desert all winter long. But for those who live in northern climes, cold and snow can make it difficult to keep up a healthy routine.
That includes getting plenty of sleep (but don’t hibernate like a bear); eating a healthy diet with lots of grains, vegetables and fruit; and getting regular exercise. Just a few minutes of exercise a day can boost your immune system and help prevent simple bacterial and viral infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
To help you get moving and feel your best, here are a few suggestions for how to stay active in winter, no matter what the conditions are outside.
Join a Gym
Many gyms and health clubs have reopened their doors with new safety precautions in place. If you’re comfortable with the new rules, choose a gym that’s close to home so the drive won’t become an excuse to skip your workout. Ask a trainer to show you how to use the machines or consider joining a fitness class. Group classes are great ways to get in shape and stay motivated. Cycling, Tai Chi, yoga, Pilates and balance training are just some of the classes you’ll find at your local Y or gym. If there’s a pool, try water aerobics. You’ll build strength and endurance without stressing your bones and joints. Studies suggest swimming also helps keep your mind sharp.
Exercise at Home
You don’t have to go to a gym to get a good workout. You can do these 5 exercises for seniors at home with just your bodyweight and a sturdy chair. Hand weights, resistance bands and a stability ball are great additions, but you don’t need them. Look for exercise routines on YouTube or pick up a DVD at your local library. In addition to strength and flexibility programs, you’ll find cardio dance routines, aerobics, yoga, Pilates and more.
Going up and down stairs is great exercise. It gets your heart pumping and strengthens muscles in your legs and hips essential for maintaining balance. Spend as little as five minutes at a time climbing up and down the stairs at a moderate pace. Focus on your posture and push up through your glutes as you climb. Many people find it harder going down stairs, so take care and use the handrail. If you don’t have stairs at home or in your workplace, an apartment building or shopping mall will do nicely. The important thing is to concentrate fully on your movements as you climb and descend the stairs.
Play in the Alley
When the weather turns chilly, bowling alleys are popular places to get some exercise and have fun. Bowling can improve your balance, strength and hand-eye coordination, not to mention your social life. There are leagues designed for every age and skill level, so there’s no reason not to give bowling a spin.
Spend Time at the Mall
Malls often open their doors early for walkers before the stores open. Some malls even have walking clubs with rewards for mileage achieved and other perks. If you wear a fitness tracker, you can record your mileage while you walk in comfort, without a heavy coat and hat. You don’t have to worry about traffic either, and bathrooms are on-site if needed. After your walk, you can grab a coffee or healthy breakfast snack as a reward.
Go Outside When You Can
When the sun’s out and the conditions are mild, a winter walk can be wonderful. The snow on the trees is a sight to see, and the sunshine and fresh air will boost your mood. Winter sports can also help banish the blues and burn calories. Skiing, ice skating, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are great ways to feel invigorated and have fun.
You Can Lead an Active Lifestyle Year-Round at Sagewood
Staying active is never a problem for Sagewood residents. There are classes, clubs, lectures and activities to stretch mind and body. You can indulge your interests, learn new skills and challenge yourself physically and intellectually. To learn more about our active lifestyle, visit the Independent Living page or contact us. We love making new friends.