Staying active during colder months

As colder weather approaches, it becomes time to make changes to your fitness routine — especially for those who have gotten used to exercising outdoors or are weary due to snow and ice. Whether the colder climate keeps you indoors or it would be unsafe to exercise outdoors, have you considered what options you have for exercise and how to stay safe and warm? If not, this blog is here to give you options and recommendations of diverse ways to stay active. As winter approaches, new routines must be created to stay active and maintain good mental and physical health. Saying active during the colder months is essential to reducing the risk of falling, due to the increased balance gained from exercise. Continuing to stay active keeps the heart strong and can decrease the chances of being diagnosed with conditions such as cardiovascular disease.  

It is recommended that individuals 60 years old and up get around 150 minutes (2 and a half hours) of moderate-intensity and muscle training exercise a week.  

Gauge what intensity is right for you by how you feel — moderate activity can feel somewhat hard. Here are clues that your exercise intensity is at a moderate level: your breathing quickens (but you are not out of breath), you develop a light sweat after about 10 minutes of activity, you can carry on a conversation — but you cannot sing.  

Vigorous exercise intensity can feel challenging. Here are clues that your exercise intensity is at a vigorous level: your breathing is deep and rapid, you develop a sweat after only a few minutes of activity and you cannot say more than a few words without pausing for breath. 

Both moderate-intensity and muscle training are important, but an essential step before this is stretching. This improves mobility, balance and warms up the body -- Healthline.com offers a great exercise plan that includes stretching.  

Stretching can be done everywhere and should be a daily routine for ages 60 and up. There are targeted stretches for each major part of the body: neck extension and flexion (the up and down movement of the neck) shoulder and arm overhead stretch, seated toe top, upper back stretch and seated hamstring stretch. The full list with instructions can be found on morelifehealth.com.  

Good exercises include swimming and water aerobics, chair and restorative yoga, walking, resistance band workouts, stretching and wall push-ups. These are easier on the body and will not cause major strain on the body, joints and muscles.  

If you prefer outside workouts, make sure you dress in warm layers and consider a compression sock with Merino wool. Merino wool provides natural thermoregulation and moisture management, making them great for all day, everyday wear. This fabric is naturally durable, antibacterial, and blister-proof. Sigvaris offers different varieties of Merino wool socks and all Sockwell products are made with this wool. 

If you prefer group workouts, then community centers are the place for you. They often offer all the recommended classes for older age groups and can help modify moves when needed.  

At home workouts are a great alternative, especially during days of inclement weather. Using household items like cans of soup or water jugs can be great options for muscle training. Household items like PVC pipes and wood can be used to create DIY weights. Moderate-intensity exercising can include walking around the house or on a treadmill, if accessible, and dancing. YouTube also offers good on-demand at-home workouts, including yoga.  

Shape.com has great how-to's for making at-home weights and YouTube creator Rom DGs’ video shows how to make several types of weights from everyday household objects.  

Older age groups should avoid exercises like abdomen crunches, squats (chair squats are ok), deadlifting, high intensity interval training (HIIT), long distance running, overhead and bench presses, toe touches, power cleaning and stair/rock climbing. These activities could result in bodily injury because of the strain on your body.  

Household cleaning tasks can burn calories too and can count as exercise. Some gentle cleaning tasks are dusting, sorting clothing and silverware to polish. Power cleaning and other extreme methods are too aggressive on the body. 

If you are just starting to exercise or do not know where to begin with weights, More Life Health offers helpful YouTube videos that go step by step through the exercises. Each workout can be modified to cater to your needs and mobility.  

When the colder weather creeps in, it can be hard to find exercises to stay active without having to take necessary precautions. At home and indoor workouts are great options that provide several types and are easily modified. Which activity are you going to try this winter? 

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