Winter may be the most difficult time of year to maintain physical activity, but it also may be the most important. People tend to not only exercise less during the winter, but social activities also seem to decline during winter. Combine that with less hours of sunlight each day, and the winter can become a depressing time for the elderly if they don’t keep active. It’s easy to find physically engaging activities during the summer, but you may need to be a little more creative during the winter. Just 20 minutes of exercise a day can have positive effects on:
- Blood pressure
- Heart function
Here are some suggestions for keeping active in the winter months.
If braving the cold during the winter is not your thing, look for activities that can be done indoors. If you like to go for walks in the summer, try finding a place to walk indoors such as a gym with a track or a mall. Swimming is a great indoor activity that has tremendous health benefits, and aquafitness is becoming a very popular and social way to keep active. Check out what classes are offered at your local gym or community centre. Maybe you can try a new activity!
There are all kinds of outdoor activities to be enjoyed outside in the winter such as skating, cross country skiing, or getting out on the snow shoes. Be sure you are dressed properly and well prepared. Wearing layers of clothing is a great way to insulate your body from the cold. Bring a water bottle and sunscreen if you plan to be out for long periods of time. On sunny days, the glare off the snow or ice can leave you with a sunburn. Winter can provide beautiful scenery for a nice walk. Just make sure to be dressed warmly and have good, comfortable footwear with solid treads.
Just as it is important to keep your body active during the winter, it is also important to keep your mind active. Social activity is a good way to accomplish that. Joining a social club or an activity in your community can be very beneficial. Keeping the mind active directly affects overall health. That is why finding a social activity to partake in, even once or twice a week, can help to get through those cold winter months.