Physical activity is beneficial for people of all ages, especially seniors. It can help reduce symptoms of chronic health conditions while also boosting your mood, strength, and balance. During winter, the shorter days and lesser daylight hours can have an influence on your well-being, so staying active can help you maintain your energy levels. Learn how you or your loved one can be physically active in the winter through this seniors’ exercise guide.
Be Prepared through Research
Before jumping into an exercise routine, you should look for resources at a public or online library to educate yourself on good fitness recommendations as well as the symptoms of hypothermia and frostbite. Preparation is key to ensuring that you have a safe session. If you have specific medical conditions like asthma, be sure to see your doctor before going outside to exercise in cold weather.
Check the Weather
You can never be too sure of the weather for the day and should always check on the day that you are planning to go outside. Factor in the winds as this can potentially increase the risk of frostbite. Do consider the possibility of rain or snowfall during your activities outdoors and know what to do in the case of such events.
The secret to a comfortable and warm exercise experience outdoors is in the layers, not the snow but your clothing. Having multiple layers of garments will protect frostbite-prone areas such as the ears, feet, head, and hands. The topmost layer should be a waterproof windbreaker that cannot absorb moisture. You or your loved one will remain safe and dry if it begins to rain or snow. It is also a good plan to equip two layers of socks and apply sunscreen to exposed skin.
Ensure to Warm Up and Stay Hydrated
Warming up muscles before exercising in the cold is crucial. Seniors who plan to exercise outside should warm up their muscles by doing fifteen to twenty minutes of stretches, walking in place, or doing other light activities indoors before going outside. Seniors should also warm down at the end of their workouts to avoid muscular freezing and stiffness. You should also know that just because you are cold, it does not stop you from becoming dehydrated. Hence, remember to consume plenty of liquids.
Find a Suitable Route
Walking outside during winter can be dangerous if you choose to walk on the wrong paths. You should search for a path that is well-maintained, with no cracks and that has been plowed and salted to prevent slipping. Try to also keep your exercise session during the daytime so that you can see where you are going.
Never Go Alone
While it might be more comfortable to go at your own pace and have your own personal space, do not exercise alone outside in the cold. It can be very dangerous especially since no one can look out for you or go to your aid if you were to slip and fall. Local walking groups are available for you to join if you want to get some exercise with other people.