STAYING FIT & HEALTHY DURING WINTER: TIPS FOR SENIORS
- For older adults, inactivity can increase the possibility of falling. The risk of taking a tumble can be exacerbated during winter, as inclement weather, snow and ice can lead to reduced physical movement. As a result, the incidents of falls can rise sharply in spring, as seniors increase their activity with the return of pleasant weather.
- To reduce the risk of a fall, there are several preventive measures that can be taken to put the odds in your favor. Staying active is critical. As many physical therapists and chiropractors will tell you: motion is lotion. Moving your body regularly helps keep your joints lubed and your muscles toned, which leads to improved overall health.
- Joining a health club, senior center or signing up for community education classes can introduce you to new friends and lots of activities.
Tips to keep active during winter:
- Walk indoors at a mall or school. Most malls allow walkers access to the mall before the shopping center is open for regular business hours. Additionally, many schools open their hallways for walkers in the evening on certain nights of the week during the fall and winter.
- Swim. Take a water aerobics class or enjoy open swimming at a local indoor pool.
- Aerobics. Get your heart pumping and shrug off winter’s chill.
- Indoor walking track or treadmill. Most health clubs, many senior centers and retirement communities have walking tracks, treadmills or elliptical machines.
- Yoga. If you’re not familiar with yoga, sign up for a beginner’s class and find out what you’ve been missing!
- Weightlifting. You can use small 1-2 pound dumbbells to carry when you walk. You can even begin with a can of soup in each hand. The added weight will help you to build muscle and help prevent injuries.
- Dancing. Moving your body to music is fun and good for you. Enjoy!
- Tai Chi. A low-impact and exceptionally beneficial form of exercise, Tai Chi is great for pain management and stress reduction.
- Get outside. On pleasant days, when it’s not icy, walk outside, even if it’s only for a few minutes – just to get the fresh air.
- Get an exercise video. There are many videos that require no gym equipment, but offer a good overall workout.
Other things you can do to improve or maintain your health:
- Eat a healthy diet. A plant-based diet is probably the single-most important thing you can do for your health. Remember: You can’t out-exercise a bad diet. Think smoothies, salads and lots of fresh delicious veggies!
- Stay hydrated. It’s easy to get dehydrated in the winter because the dry air makes us feel hydrated. As a minimum, plan to drink half your weight in ounces, per day.
- Get plenty of rest. This seems obvious, but you can’t be at your best if you are tired. Go to bed and rise at the same time every day and resist the urge to nap (which feeds the vicious cycle of not being able to sleep at night).
- Meditate. Clear your mind, focus on the present and get in touch with your higher self. There is absolutely no down-side to meditation.
- Sit in a sauna several times a week. Infrared saunas help you sweat out toxins and provide relief to aching muscles and joints. In addition to the amazing relaxation benefits of regular sessions in a sauna, frequent users have reported improvement from numerous medical conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
- Keep up your social activities. Social isolation is a very real issue in the winter months. Attending classes, joining a health club, going to church and keeping up with friends is integral to maintaining feelings of being involved with something bigger than yourself.
Incorporating several of these tips will help you stay healthy, get ready for spring and help reduce your risk of a fall.