It’s important to stay active as you get older. Regular activity helps maintain healthy muscles and bones, which can help prevent falls and broken bones. Additionally, regular exercise can keep your heart and joints healthy. Studies show regular activity can even help improve your mood and memory. But as it gets colder and darker, it can be difficult to stay active. Fortunately, there are many ways to be active even when the weather isn’t ideal.
Going for a walk is an easy way to incorporate exercise into your day. But if it’s dark outside and the sidewalks are icy, it can be dangerous and increase your risk of a fall. For a free and safe alternative to walking outside, look to your local mall. With no traffic to worry about and protected from the weather, malls have wide walkways with level floors and often have rest areas with seating if you need to take a break. Some malls even have mall walking programs for walkers looking to socialize. So grab your sneakers and try out your local mall for a stroll.
There are many exercises you can do in the comfort of your own home. The National Institute of Health’s Go4Life program has some great resources on creating an exercise plan and videos for exercises you can do from home. These programs focus on four types of exercise for health: endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility.
Many gyms and community centers offer fitness classes tailored to older adults, or classes where instructors can offer variations to exercises based on your abilities or limitations. Check within your local community to see what options are available to you.
If you are going to exercise outside despite the cold, make sure to plan accordingly. Be aware of the risks, have the proper gear, and take the weather into account. You can find more tips to stay safe while being active in cold weather here.
While there are many benefits to keeping active, make sure you stay safe while exercising, especially in the winter. Be sure to check with a doctor before beginning a new exercise routine.