Regular physical activity is one of the most important things seniors can do for their health. It can prevent many of the health problems that come with age. Exercising helps seniors keep their muscles strong, the joints flexible, alleviate pain, elevate their mood and maintain their day-to-day activities without becoming too dependent on others.
Seniors need to keep active and follow an exercise regime throughout the year. However, the cold Canadian winter can present a challenge when it comes to exercising as it becomes hazardous to venture outside for simple activities such as walking.
The pandemic has presented an additional challenge, making it difficult for seniors to exercise in group settings. Inactivity during winter can create many issues for seniors such as the increased risk of falls due to weakened balance and coordination, increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, depression and anxiety.
It is still possible for seniors to maintain an exercise routine inside their homes during the cold winter months to stay active, strong and flexible.
Here are a few winter exercising tips for indoor activities for seniors. Seniors must consult their doctor before pursuing any exercise routine:
1. Indoor Walking
The most common winter exercising tips to remain mobile and active is to walk inside the living spaces. Exercising the leg muscles and joints can reduce the chances of heart attacks, lower blood pressure, prevent strain injuries, and prevent diabetes.
Walking helps maintain coordination and strengthens the muscles, tendons, and ligaments which decreases the risks of falls. Seniors can carry some light weights while walking indoor to maximize its benefits.
2. In-Home Exercise Equipment
The family can also set up some indoor gym equipment to keep seniors active during the winter.
A treadmill can be an excellent alternative to walking. A treadmill’s speed can be set to match the mobility level of a senior.
Another great and safer alternative is an exercise bike which can help seniors strengthen their legs and heart.
For seniors looking for a full-body workout, an elliptical can be a good option, as it provides a good upper and lower body workout and strengthens the arms, shoulders, and legs muscles.
3. Online Workout Classes
During the pandemic, many gyms and personal trainers have set up online platforms for home exercises. These are targeted at all age groups. Online workouts are conducted over video so they have a social aspect as well.
Families can help seniors subscribe to a suitable online exercise service to keep active during the winter months.
Another winter exercising tips includes yoga. Yoga can be easily done inside and can help seniors improve their balance, reduce stress and build flexibility in joints.
Yoga is also a mood booster and can improve and maintain the mental health of seniors during winter. It can also reduce hypertension.
Stretching is simple but effective. It can be done standing, sitting or lying down. Even stretching twice a week for 10 minutes only can help seniors increase flexibility and mobility.
It may be a good idea to get a personal trainer or a physiotherapist to recommend the right stretching exercises for a senior who can then carry them out regularly on their own.
6. Household Chores
Even doing household chores every day can be a good winter exercising tips for seniors. It will keep them on their feet and active. Small household talks can still burn a good amount of calories and improve circulation and mobility.
If a senior is active enough to dance, it can be a good way to mix fun and exercise.
Families can include light dancing into the daily routines with their loved ones or when visiting. It’s also a great way for grandchildren to bond with their grandparents.
How can a caregiver help?
Ensuring that seniors stay active and exercise regularly is one of the many tasks a professional caregiver for elderly can perform. Caregivers can help ensure that seniors are exercising regularly during the winter months. They can provide exercise reminders, motivation and support and also ensure that the seniors are not pushing themselves too hard. They can even join the seniors for exercising which can help with bonding. It will also keep the caregivers fit.
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