It isn’t news to the elderly that winter raises a few extra health hazards. The flu is running rapidly, COVID remains a threat, and there’s increased risk of falls due to the wet conditions. However, this is all the more reason to keep up with your health and fitness routine.
Staying active during the colder months is imperative for optimal health, especially for seniors. This is because as we get older, our bodies naturally degenerate and weaken. To combat this, it’s crucial to maintain our strength to lower the risk of injury or illness.
Below are our 4 best winter exercise tips for the elderly.
1.Warm Up Before You Workout
Warming your body before exercise has a number of benefits, including injury prevention, enhancing exercise performance, and shorter recovery times. This is because warming your muscles prior to exercise helps to make them more flexible. Essentially, this means we become supple and relaxed, limiting any rigidness during your workout. This helps to lower your risk of injury by eliminating any tension in your muscles which could potentially cause your body to move in a harmful way.
What’s great about warming up is that you can keep things simple. A brief walk, some light stretches, or a bit of mobility work is enough to limber up the muscles and prevent injury.
2. Stretch It Out
Stretching may be low intensity, but the benefits are sky high! A great way to warm up or cool down, stretching enhances your muscle elasticity, which in turn, helps with flexibility and mobility. It is crucial for the elderly to stay limber, as this improves your ability to perform day to day activities.
Another major benefit of being flexible is that it helps with our balance, reducing the likelihood of slips and falls. This also helps with maintaining good posture, limiting stress in the lower back. All of which are important factors for maintaining health and fitness as we age.
When it comes to the mobility side of things, stretching helps to maintain a good range of motion in our joints, keeping our muscles nice and strong. Without this mobility, our muscles would weaken causing them to become short and tight, restricting our ability to move freely.
Yoga and pilates are both excellent forms of low intensity exercise that can enhance our flexibility, mobility and core strength.
3. Strength Training Is A Must!
There are a ton of reasons as to why older adults should be strength training. It preserves strength and muscle mass, reduces fat stores, lowers blood pressure, and increases our bone density. If older adults engage in regular strength training, they will lower their risk of developing conditions such as osteoporosis and frailty, as this form of exercise helps to fight the natural depletion of our muscles and bone strength.
Another win for the elderly engaging in strength training is that it can enhance their mental and emotional wellbeing. A sense of feeling strong and healthy does wonders for the mind. It can increase their confidence, sense of independence and way of life.
Now, we know the idea of strength training may sound intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Some light dumbbell exercises, paired with resistance bands and bodyweight movements is more than enough to maintain strength and bone health.
4. Don’t Forget Your Cardio
Cardio exercise is the best for working on your heart and lung health, which is vital for helping the prevention of cardiovascular and respiratory illness, especially in the winter! Cardio training can include anything from a brisk walk to a fastened run. What’s great about cardio training is that with the right tools it can easily be done from the comfort of your own home.
If you’re an ageing adult looking to keep up with your cardio fitness, we highly recommend investing in a treadmill, mag bike, or recumbent bike that can be installed in your home and used at your convenience. These cardio machines are all safe and easy to use, suitable for the older adult.