Surprising Ways Seniors Can Stay Fit in the Winter

senior-fitness-activitiesThe weather outside is frightful, and all you want to do is snuggle on the couch with your warm blankets and a mug of hot chocolate. But after all of those Christmas cookies you ate this holiday season, you know it’s time to get up and moving.

The good news is that being healthy doesn’t have to mean going outside and turning into an ice cube. It’s time to get motivated with some surprising ways to stay active while staying out of the cold.

Playing Games

Who says staying active can’t be fun? The best way to exercise is to forget you’re exercising. Grab some friends and play games that keep you moving.

  • Indoor Mini-GolfChallenge your coordination and visualization skills with miniature golf. The game may be small, but it is big fun. Even regular golfers will be challenged by mini-golf’s clever obstacles.
  • BowlingWhen’s the last time you put on a pair of bowling shoes? Head over to your local lanes and get laced up. Choose your ball, knock over some pins, and cheer your friends as they try to beat your high score.

Taking it Easy

Need to keep your workouts low impact? It’s all about getting creative with where you exercise.

  • Aqua DanceSwimming is the best low-impact activity. Find a heated indoor pool that offers aqua dance or water aerobics classes. Water aerobics is a surprisingly great workout. You will dance and swim your way to better health.
  • Window shoppingThe mall is the perfect place to take a walk on a winter day. Stay warm while enjoying the sights. People watch, look in the windows and maybe try on a few things. Even if you don’t buy a thing, you will have spent the day burning calories without even realizing it.

Staying Home

You don’t have to go very far to start getting in shape—you don’t even have to leave your living room.

  • Video gamesVideo games don’t have to mean sitting on the couch. Wii and the Xbox Kinect were made to get you moving. Play a wide variety of games, from tennis to shuffleboard to bowling. Or grab Dance Dance Revolution and dance to your heart’s content—all without leaving your living room.
  • CleaningCleaning is very few people’s idea of a good time. Why not make a game out of it? Put on your favorite upbeat song and see how much you can get done before the song ends. Make a playlist of your favorite tunes and you’ll find yourself dancing and singing your way to a cleaner house and better health.

Being Adventurous

Don’t let staying inside be an excuse to be lazy. Stretch your limits, push your boundaries, and get your blood pumping while staying indoors.

  • Rock climbingThere’s nothing like the feeling of accomplishment you get from scaling a wall and looking back down at the ground. Revel in your body’s power with an amazing arm and back workout. Rock climbing gyms have walls of different levels so that you can increase the challenge whenever you’re ready.
  • Ballroom danceHave you ever watched Dancing with the Stars and wished you could dance like them? Head over to your local ballroom studio and sign up for classes—no partner required. Before you know it, you will be twirling around the ballroom to your favorite songs and dancing the night away.

Getting Fit

Making your body strong doesn’t have to mean going to the gym and lifting weights.

  • Tai ChiTai chi is a martial art that is often called “meditation in motion”. You will do slow, flowing movements that stretch out your muscles and promote better balance and body awareness. Focusing on the movement will clear your mind and help you to forget your worries. 
  • PilatesPilates is a favorite of celebrities and dancers—and for good reason! It focuses on strengthening your core and maintaining lean muscles. It can be done with equipment and without, and can be adjusted to different experience levels. It will increase your strength and flexibility without feeling like a traditional gym workout.

Having Fun

Exercise doesn’t have to be a dirty word. Get creative. Find something that you enjoy–something that just so happens to keep you active. You’ll be having so much fun that you’ll surprise yourself with how strong you’ve gotten and how much better you feel.

Tracy Layden is a Certified Aging in Place Specialist. Born and raised in Silicon Valley, Tracy leads the marketing efforts at Alert-1, a personal safety technology and consulting firm dedicated to helping seniors live safely and independently. Tracy holds a degree in mathematics from Scripps College and is an accomplished ballroom dancer and equestrian.

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