Senior Fitness: Indoor Workouts For Cold Winter Months
Bay Alarm Medical
November 1, 2021
Exercise helps control weight, increase cardiovascular fitness, and improve cognitive functioning. When you exercise, your body releases feel-good neurotransmitters called endorphins. This is important: seniors with depression tend to have worse health outcomes, and some researchers believe that depression can trigger physical changes in the brain that increase the risk of dementia.
Cold weather can make outdoor exercise more dangerous for seniors because of the increased risk of falls and hypothermia. As cold weather approaches, take some time now to plan how you or your loved one can stay fit even if you have to spend more time indoors.
Find a Senior Friendly Gym
If you think you can’t afford a gym membership, think again! Most Medicare Advantage (MA) plans offer Silver Sneakers memberships at no cost to plan participants. It’s a no-cost, basic gym membership that includes access to special classes geared towards seniors. There are other community-based exercise options as well. Learn more about how to find a senior friendly gym or exercise program.
Keep Your Balance with Yoga and Tai Chi
Both yoga and tai chi help you build strength, increase flexibility, and improve balance. They’re “whole body” exercises that help improve both physical and mental health. During practice, you’ll go through a series of poses that may be held individually or performed as a flowing series.
- Tai chi is rarely practiced on the floor. It’s a mostly standing practice that integrates movement, breathing, and balance. The goal is to get all parts of the body operating as one.
- Yoga involves both standing poses and mat work. It helps you increase strength and flexibility because it encourages holding various deep stretches for longer periods.
Both practices focus on breathing, relaxation, and mindfulness. They don’t require a lot of special equipment, and can be practiced at home or in class settings.
Join or Start an Indoor Walking Club
Spring and fall, with their mild temperatures and beautiful colors, are ideal times for outdoor walking. However, summer heat and winter chill force many people indoors. Indoor walking allows you to maintain fitness and socialize at the same time.
Of course, you can walk on your own at an indoor track or mall, but studies show that having workout partners can make you feel more motivated to exercise. It’s also an opportunity to increase your circle of friends. Strong social relationships are linked to better health outcomes in seniors.
Better health and more friends – what’s not to like?
Take the Plunge: Try Water Aerobics and Swimming
Water exercises are ideal for people with limited mobility and joint pain. Basic swimming involves all muscle groups and is low impact.
With water aerobics, you get the benefits of cardio and resistance training, but with less stress on your joints. The warm water in heated pools can also help relieve pain and stiffness. Check with your community pools and local gyms. Most offer water aerobics classes specifically for seniors or for people with certain health conditions.
Find Affordable Home Fitness Equipment
Home exercise equipment brings the gym to you. Home fitness is convenient, and you can do it on your own schedule. Family members can share the equipment, so there’s no reason for multiple gym memberships.
Some of the best home exercise equipment options for seniors include treadmills, recumbent bikes, resistance training, free weights, and videos or online classes. If some of this sounds expensive, don’t worry. While you can spend a lot on exercise equipment, you don’t have to.
Mention to your friends and neighbors that you’re looking for a particular piece of equipment. Many have unused items they’d be willing to sell cheap or even give away. Check out sports consignment shops, thrift stores, online marketplaces, and garage sales for deals.
Stay Safe While Exercising
Talk with your doctor before starting any exercise program, particularly if you have health conditions or take medications that may cause dizziness or disorientation. Although the exercise options we mention here can help you improve balance and overall health, accidents and health crises (like heart attack or stroke) can happen anytime.
In a health emergency, every minute counts, so a medical alert device is an important safety feature of any workout program. Bay Alarm Medical offers several stylish wearable options including a personal help button (necklace or wristband) and our new medical alert smartwatch that doubles as a medical alert system and fitness tracker.
Call us at 1-877-522-9633 to learn more about how our affordable medical alert systems can help you stay safe while staying fit.