We all know that staying active is the key to aging well. That’s all well and good in the spring and summer, when the sun is out and the weather is perfect for being outside. It’s a different story in the winter when there’s ice, snow, darkness and cold. It’s tempting to snuggle up and hibernate until the spring thaw hits, but that’s not really the best use of your time, according to Kristine Tilton, Executive Director of Waterstone at Wellesley.
“Staying fit and healthy is a year-round activity, even in the winter,” she says. “There’s no reason why seniors can’t exercise safely during the winter months, although it may require a change in your usual exercise routine.” That’s because the weather in winter is prime for slips and falls, which can lead to lengthy hospital stays and painful recoveries. To add insult to injury, not exercising increases the chance of falling, so it may seem a little like darned-if-you-do, darned-if-you-don’t.
“Luckily, these days there are so many resources to help you stay moving without having to leave your home,” says Kristine. “Since we’re coming off the holiday months, now is the perfect time to pick up a new routine or habit to help you improve your health in 2019. You don’t have to make a plan to run a marathon, but if your fitness routine has fallen by the wayside, make this winter an opportunity to get a jump start for spring.”
Here are some easy, fun ways to stay active during the winter months.
1. Join a health center (of any flavor).
Signing up for exercise classes at a senior center, joining a new gym or health club or looking into community exercise clubs is a great way to find alternative ways to get fit this winter. You can choose from a variety of Interesting – and unexpected – classes (pole dancing, anyone?), as well as make new friends and find new interests.
- Water activities are a great aerobic exercise that’s also gentle on your joints. Consider a water aerobics class, or simply take advantage of open swimming at an area indoor pool. It’s a great full-body workout that increases flexibility and improves stamina.
- If walking or exercise equipment is more your speed, look for a health center that suits your needs. Instead of focusing solely on gyms and health clubs, check out your area senior centers and senior living communities to see if they have any options open to the public. These will be more focused on the health needs of seniors.
2. Try out a social activity.
By which we mean an exercise class or activity that revolves around a community or group interaction. After the holidays, social commitments tend to become a little less frequent, which can lead to staying inside, which can then lead to less exercise.
- Start or join a walking club. These groups meet at a mall or school (before or after business hours) to walk indoors where it’s warm and ice-free.
- Take a yoga or tai chi class. These forms of exercise pair the body and mind to help flexibility, build strength and practice mindfulness.
- Go dancing. Like to salsa or swing dance? Check out what classes or groups are meeting in your area to get moving and grooving.
3. Sweat it out at home (or in your neighborhood).
You don’t have to go far to get a good workout. Taking a daily walk around the block is one of the best and easiest ways to stay healthy, both physically and mentally. Depending on how far you walk, you can even break a sweat and get a boost of Vitamin D from the sunshine and fresh air. You can go by yourself, walk your dog or get a walking buddy to stay accountable. However, if roads are treacherous underfoot, or if it’s simply too cold and windy, here are some ideas on how to get your blood pumping from the comfort of your home.
- Try at an at-home exercise class, like Zumba or yoga. You can rent a DVD from the library, or if you have a computer and an internet connection, go online to see what’s available on YouTube and other streaming video services. There are many free exercise classes that are updated on a regular basis.
- Use items around your house to strength-train, stretch and improve your balance. You can do curls with soup cans or milk jugs. For a little aerobic boost, go up and down the stairs a few times (if it’s safe to do so). Home is also a great place to practice balancing exercises. Stand at the kitchen counter, lift one foot and try and balance for five seconds. Repeat with the other foot.
4. Just get moving.
Speaking of moving, remember that you don’t have to do a full-on, exhausting workout every day in order to reap the health benefits. Even just getting up every hour and walking around your home is good for you. Any form of activity is beneficial! Think of ways to add a little extra motion into your day. While you’re watching TV, march in place during a commercial break. Grab a dust rag and do some vigorous cleaning. Turn on the radio and dance around the room. Park in the back of the grocery store parking lot so you have to walk a little further to get where you’re going. Anything to get you up and moving!
5. Give your mind a workout.
Don’t forget that staying fit and healthy includes exercising your mind. Winter is actually a great time to stimulate your brain, since you may have fewer social engagements and have more time to stay inside. Think about the things you enjoy doing and spend time each day doing them, like puzzles brain teasers, crosswords or even reading a book. You can also look online for free courses that you can take to learn a language or study an interesting topic. By keeping your brain active, you’ll stave off boredom, keep your cognitive functioning high and potentially stave off memory issues like dementia.
For more information on ways to stay fit, active and healthy this winter, or to learn more about how we provide distinctive and luxurious independent and assisted living options for seniors in Wellesley, MA, please contact us at 781.235.1614.
Beautiful Riverfront Community
Located on the banks of the Charles River, Waterstone is Wellesley’s only senior living community, offering premier independent and assisted living. But that’s only the first of many differences that sets Waterstone above and beyond other communities.
Celebrating Dynamic Living
Here our residents live independently in their own private, spacious apartments – but without any of the worries or concerns of homeownership or living alone. All meals are expertly prepared. There aren’t any chores to be concerned with. No home maintenance or repairs to worry about. Just opportunities around every corner and time to spend as they choose – in the company of new friends.
Our vibrant community encourages residents to engage in a variety of recreational, cultural and social programs and activities. Enjoy a fitness class. Swim in the sunny indoor pool. Take a stroll on a walking path. Partake in a favorite hobby or pastime. Discover a new interest. With Waterstone at Wellesley, there’s a world of opportunity waiting right outside our residents’ doors.
Confidence of Care
The hallmark of Waterstone assisted living is the peace of mind we provide both our residents and their families. Knowing that care and support is available right on site instills a sense of confidence and calm one can’t find living alone.
For prospective residents or their families interested in residing at Waterstone at Wellesley, please contact us at 781.235.1614.