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6 ways seniors can stay active in winter

Senior Wellness | Dec 16, 2016

As tempting as it may be to spend the winter months cozied up by the fire snacking on holiday cookies, your health should still be top of mind.

Inactivity can lead to loss of muscle mass and high blood pressure in seniors, among many other health risks. That's why the U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommend 2.5 hours of exercise a week for those 65 and older.

Use these tips to stay active this winter:

1. Lift weights

There are numerous benefits to lifting weights. According to Active.com, a weight training program improves bone density, increases muscle strength, helps with weight management and can enhance metabolic fitness. Lifting weights is also good because it's a low impact workout.

"Lifting weights is also good because it's a low impact workout."

You'll want to conduct your exercises with dumbbells because they're easier to use and and you can exercise at a gym or in your living room. The key to any exercise program is to complete a handful of sets of repetitions. VeryWell.com recommended completing three sets of 12 repetitions of arm curls, forward lunges, front raises and more.

2. Try yoga

Yoga is a peaceful exercise that provides three distinct health benefits for seniors.

If you don't feel comfortable with using weights, yoga is a good substitute because the exercise helps strengthen your bones. By practicing yoga, you may reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

Yoga can also help you cut some pounds. According to American Senior Communities, yoga helps lessen your risk of depression, alleviates pains and aches, and improves bone strength.

3. Go for a swim

Swimming is already a good low impact workout and one you should try because it targets many parts of your body. You can improve the condition of your heart and lungs, strengthen muscles and bones, and burn a lot of calories.

Another perk of swimming: You don't always need to swim laps to feel the benefits. Water jogs or walks - or any cardio involving water weights - are other examples of exercises you can complete.

4. Immerse yourself in water aerobics

Try some water aerobics if you don't feel comfortable with enduring laps. Aerobics, which are performed in shallow water, are a type of resistance training.

In addition to being in the water, aerobic classes are typically conducted in group settings. This way, you're able to get your exercise in water and enjoy the company of others.

5. Fight stress - gently

According to the Mayo Clinic, practicing tai chi is one way to reduce stress in your life. Tai chi is a graceful exercise because it promotes inner calmness through a variety of gentle movements, such as drawn-out, slow-moving stretches.

"Tai chi is one way to reduce stress."

The benefits of tai chi can include:

  • Flexibility improvement
  • Better sleep
  • Improvement in joint pain
  • More stamina and energy
  • A reduced risk of falls

You can practice tai chi by finding books and videos on the exercise and trying them out while at home, or you can sign up for classes in your community.

6. Cycle indoors

Indoor cycling is a good substitute if you want to ride a bike, but snow and ice make it difficult to get a ride in.

Head to your local gym and hop on a stationary bike. Indoor Cycle Instructor said spin classes are a good form of cardiovascular exercise. Cycling can help lower your blood pressure and reduce risk for coronary artery disease. You'll want workouts to last at least 30 minutes and they can be of any intensity.

This winter, it's important you stay active to reduce the risk of illness and injury. Before you head to the gym, be sure to consult with your doctor to see if routine exercise is OK.