Staying Active this Winter

The start of a new year usually includes goals of eating healthy and staying fit. While the weather doesn’t hinder the eating well portion of your goals, it may affect the ability to stay active. Winter weather can challenge anyone’s desire and discipline towards being physically fit, especially when it’s cold, dreary and unpleasant beyond your home’s comfortable (and heated!) walls.

Dropping temperatures don’t mean you have to abandon your health and fitness routine. Depending on your age and health, your doctor can recommend an appropriate activity level for you. Here are some ideas for staying active this winter…

Check out health clubs and community centers. Most gyms have group classes and instructed activities for people of varying ages and fitness levels. For seniors, your doctor should determine if gyms are a good fit for you. Many community centers offer fitness/wellness classes and activities. This is also a great outlet to remain social and engaged with others in your community.

Keep the same activities in your routine, but change up the location. If your go-to activity is a brisk walk with a friend or neighbor, head over to your local mall. Most malls open their doors early so walkers can get their exercise before shoppers arrive. This is a great alternative in a climate-controlled environment

If you decide to endure the cold temperatures for physical activity, it’s important to take a few precautions. Dress appropriately with the right types of layers and don’t forget to protect your extremities. The body loses 90% of its heat through the head, so make sure to wear a hat. Listen to your body for signals you may want to slow down or move inside.

Staying active doesn’t necessarily mean you have to break a sweat. For seniors in particular, staying active is really more about participating in activities and connecting to the community. Volunteering is a great way to stay active, learn a new skill or nurture a hobby or passion. Libraries, shelters and churches are resources to seek out volunteering opportunities.

Don’t lose sight of the simple truth—every activity counts towards your personal goals for staying active and healthy. Whether you’re doing laps at the mall, participating in a group fitness class or volunteering at a shelter, all of these are helpful to staying active and healthy. Have an open mind to try new things and get creative with friends and family.