As we grow older, our bodies tend to become weak and fragile. The activities we once used to engage in effortlessly now take more time and effort to participate. At the same time, we are a bit careful as well not to cause any injuries that might require surgeries at such stage. Health experts recommend that people should keep their body active all-round the year, especially the elders. Since the temperatures drop and the seniors prefer to keep themselves tucked in, the body does not receive the movement it requires, resulting in stiffening of the muscles.
Therefore, if you have a senior family member in your house, you need to keep them active when the winter season kicks in. Although it should be for the entire year but the winter season, in particular, should see some movement too. So let’s discuss some activities and exercises that will help keep the elderly both active and healthy during winters.
Best Winter Exercises for Seniors
Go For a Walk Inside
We understand that it might be a cliché but walking inside the house is one of the best winter activities for seniors. Depending on the temperature and schedule you can help your elderly get out of the house and get some fresh air as well but only if the senior is in the mood for so. Elderly people tend to be moody as well sometimes. They will not agree to your every suggestion, therefore, you need to stay calm and respect their behavior. Everyone goes through such mood swings at this stage and it is better if you accept living with it.
On the other hand, walking inside the house will ensure that the elderly are under your watch and you are able to reach them incase of an emergency. When it comes to keeping the elderly busy and active during the winter season, you have to be extra careful about their outside movement if they demand so. The reason is that bodies at such a stage are not able to cope with extreme temperatures. It might result in hurting their bones or health. The last thing you would want them is to cough mercilessly and not being able to recover soon enough just because their immune system is relatively weak.
Walk Outside in Milder Conditions
As mentioned previously, you can ask the elderly whether they would like to take a walk outside. Believe it or not, some seniors will ask you to walk them outside when it is literally snowing, while others will wait for mild temperatures. In both cases, you have to be extremely careful and ensure that you make them put on the right clothes. If you observe that the senior is not able to cope with even the slightest drop in temperatures, you might want to ask them to wait for the temperature to rise a bit. Once the temperature is mild outside, you can take them out and give them much-needed fresh air.
In addition to that, if you are living in a region that experiences a blazing sun, there is no harm in putting on some sunscreen. Apart from the bones, the skin tends to be sensitive at this age as well. Even if the temperature itself maybe low but if the sun is out, the UV rays can still damage their skin. Before, heading out with the elderly, check to see whether the roads or surface is covered with snow. If it is, you might want to wait for this one out and for a good reason. Slippery surfaces can be quite dangerous and are the cause of millions of accidents amongst seniors every year. Lastly, make sure that the elderly are hydrated. Even during the winters, your body needs an adequate amount of water to carry on with the activities and exercises.
Set Up an In-Home Gym
Setting up an In-Home Gym is another great idea for staying active. Do not think that setting up an in-home gym is going to break your bank because seniors are recommended to stay away from heavyweights and equipment anyway. Therefore, you should only consider buying equipment that stimulates their different parts of the body. For instance, you can opt for a cost-efficient treadmill that keeps the elderly on their toes. Furthermore, you can purchase an exercise bike as well that is not going to be harsh on the muscles. Ellipticals are another way of achieving a low-impact workout. Lastly, to keep the upper body strong, you can go for lifting machines or light dumbbells as well.
Best Winter Activities for Seniors
Join a Community
The winters can be a boring season for the elderly. While the young can go out and enjoy themselves with friends, the elderly are made to sit at home and watch the TV, which can become quite boring sometimes. Although you might feel sad about it but the fact of the matter is that you cannot do anything much about it. Prevention at this stage is better than being emotional. However, what you can do is help them join a community.
There are a lot of communities in every society that brings people of different backgrounds together and they sit down everyday and discuss contemporary issues and subjects. This helps them make friends and pass time effortlessly. More importantly, they get to talk and walk at the same time, which gives them a reason to engage in a bit of exercise. Therefore, a win-win situation.
When you grow older, you seem to find joy and excitement in the smallest of things. One of the ways of bringing out that excitement and joy are to encourage the elderly to grow something in the garden. At this stage, they can use a bit of motivation and a pat on the back. While they try their best to bring out the inner artist, make sure that you motivate and encourage them so that they don’t lose heart.
However, keep a time limit to the activity. You do not want the elderly to push themselves to the point where they become excessively tired and fatigued. So, watch over them regularly and provide them space where they can spend some time moving their bodies.
Just Move Around the House
Just moving around the house will prevent you from getting bored. Moving around the house means you can help your grandchildren with whatever they are busy in or help maybe offer some help in the kitchen. The key is to find something that keeps you busy and moving. If possible, try going up and down the stairs and stretch as well a bit. Instead of isolating your body infront of the TV each day, you should focus on changing your position every once in a while. This will keep your heart pumping and muscles going a little.
You may also want to try playing indoor games. For more ideas and recommendations, you may check out our Guide to Selecting Fun Games for Seniors.
Join a Class
You might have seen many seniors joining classes over the internet to keep themselves busy and it is one of the best activities for elders. Joining a class offers multiple benefits. First, the senior gets to interact with other individuals of the same group and sometimes younger, which makes the overall process much more fun and interesting.
Secondly, the senior ends up learning a new skill at the end of the day, which keeps them busy at home as well. Joining a class gives the elderly the much-needed attention and company that they need everyday. Since everybody in the family happens to be busy during the day, it becomes relatively difficult to keep up with and provide company to the elders. Although it is unfortunate but then again, you cannot do much about it.
Host a Dinner
If you have a senior in the house who does not have anything much to do around the house, you can do him/her a special favor. Host a dinner and invite all their friends over. This is going to be an excellent way of uplifting their mood as they get to spend the day with their favorite people. Hosting a dinner is all about spending quality time with friends, eating food, and engaging in activities such as board games, etc. Believe it or not, your loved one is going to ask for more and there is no harm in hosting a dinner every week if possible. Not only does it give them great company but keeps them both mentally and physically healthy as well.
Anything that keeps the seniors moving is great for the heart, body, and mind. However, you should always be careful about overstepping the boundaries. You should be aware of what the elderly can do and cannot do to prevent any serious injuries. The key lies in observing the mood of the seniors and going from there. With a little bit of encouragement and motivation, you can help them move around a bit especially when the weather outside is unforgiving.