When the temperatures dip down and the weather turns wintry, it can be difficult to work up the motivation to stay physically and mentally active.
However, keeping the mind and body active—even during bad weather—is important to maintaining overall well-being, especially for seniors.
For aging adults in particular, there are many benefits of staying active. Not only can staying active help older adults live longer, maintain a healthy weight, reduce the risk of age-related illnesses and chronic diseases, and improve mobility, it can also help:
- improve the quality of their sleep
- enhance their mood
- improve brain function
Staying active can even help prevent the onset of memory-related brain disorders, like Alzheimer’s, in aging adults.
With the benefits of staying active in mind, let’s take a look at three ways you or your aging loved one can stay active this winter, no matter what the weather may be.
Staying Active: Indoor Activities & Exercises
While the temptation to curl up on the couch during cold or bad weather can be hard to overcome, older adults still need to get moving to maintain their strength, mobility, and ultimately, their independence.
The good news is that you don’t have to be outdoors to be active. There are a number of indoor activities that can provide health benefits, including:
- chair exercises
- fitness classes
- light weight-lifting
- yoga or tai chi
- virtual or video workouts
- chest stretches
There are also exercises for seniors with limited mobility. Some great exercises include those that:
- get your heart rate up and boost your endurance, such as walking and water aerobics
- involve hand weights, exercise bands, or other small gym equipment to help build strength, improve balance, and prevent falls
- boost your joints’ range of motion and help prevent injury, such yoga and various stretching exercises
Staying Active: Outdoor Activities & Exercises
For those seniors who prefer to be outside—or for those days when the sun’s out and the weather’s OK—there are a wide variety of engaging activities for seniors.
Some fun and safe ways for staying active outdoors include:
- taking a neighborhood stroll
- swimming in a heated pool
- flying kites
- playing yard games
- spending time outdoors with grandchildren
- doing year-round gardening activities
While getting outside is good for people of all ages, including older adults, and a great way to get in some of the daily recommended amount of vitamin D, cold weather poses extra threats for seniors.
Because older adults tend to lose body heat faster than their younger counterparts—and are less aware of getting cold, due to certain age-related body changes—it’s important for seniors take extra care in cold weather to prevent dehydration and hypothermia.
To prevent cold weather-related complications, it’s important for aging adults to:
- keep an eye on the temperature
- stay warm indoors by setting the thermostat to at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit
- dress warmly on windy and/or cold days
Brain Fitness Is A Key Part of Staying Active
Staying physically active is key to seniors’ overall health and well-being—and so is staying mentally active and sharp.
To ensure you or your aging loved one’s brain stays “fit,” try the following mind-stimulating activities:
- completing a puzzle
- reading a book
- listening to music
- taking up a new hobby
- learning a new language or skill
- participating in clubs, such as a book club
- volunteering at a local organization
- playing cards
- socializing with friends and family
The options are endless. The key is to find activities that you or your loved one truly enjoy—and keeping things fresh by mixing it up a little.
Staying Active With Senior LIFE
At Senior LIFE, we understand how important it is for seniors to stay as active as possible in their aging years. Our goal is to provide seniors with all the care they need to live happy, healthy, independent lives.
That’s why, in addition to health-related services, members also have access to a variety of services and opportunities to help keep them mentally, physically, and socially active.
Additionally, after enrolling, Senior LIFE members also gain access to assistive devices when medically necessary—such as walkers and canes, among other items—that can help improve their mobility and independence, ultimately, helping them stay active.
“There are numerous benefits to staying both physically and mentally active in our later years,” says Kathleen McFerron, Wellness Nurse with Senior LIFE. “Staying active can help seniors simply feel better in general, while also improving their overall health. Ultimately, regular activity can help aging adults remain independent and able to stay in their homes longer.”
At Senior LIFE, we understand the importance of staying active as we age. That’s why physical therapy and social activities are two of the many types of services we offer. Find out if Senior LIFE is an option for you or your loved one.
Categories: Life at Its Fullest