Safe Winter Fitness Ideas for Older Adults

Sunrise Senior Living  |  November 24, 2017

As the calendar inches closer to winter, older adults may find themselves spending more time indoors. While walking and biking are popular forms of exercise on summer days, cold and snowy weather can put a damper on outdoor fitness activities.

But we all know how important maintaining an active lifestyle is to warding off disease. Exercise can play a role in preventing health conditions that range from depression to diabetes. Staying strong can also help to lower an older adult’s risk for falls.

The key is to find senior-friendly forms of fitness that can be performed indoors on days when snow and ice make exercising outdoors less than desirable.

Winter Fitness Activities for Older Adults

The good news is that there are a wide variety of fun and interesting fitness activities for older adults to explore. Here are a few that earn high marks from seniors:

  • Swimming: This popular form of fitness is good for the body, mind, and spirit. In addition to keeping you physically fit, swimming can also help soothe anxiety and relieve pain in joints damaged by arthritis. Many health clubs and YMCA programs offer seniors discounts on membership or swim-only membership options.
  • Tai Chi: An ancient form of exercise, tai chi helps build stamina and strength. Its gentle movements are good for older adults who might have mobility issues that make high-intensity forms of physical fitness difficult. Tai chi also teaches participants breathing techniques which can alleviate stress. The Arthritis Foundation offers several videos to help older adults master tai chi.
  • Stationary Bike: If you enjoy biking outdoors in summer months, a stationary bike will allow you to continue pedaling. Recumbent bikes are typically a safer style of stationary bike for seniors. You can watch television, read, or listen to music while you work out.
  • Yoga and Pilates: Both Pilates and yoga help build core strength and overall fitness. And, they can be performed safely in a senior’s own living room. Chair yoga is offered at many senior centers, libraries, and community centers for those who like the companionship of group exercise programs.
  • NIA's Go4Life: In recognizing how important it is for seniors to stay active, the National Institute on Aging developed Go4Life. This comprehensive fitness programs provides resources for seniors. You can even sign up to have a free workout DVD sent to your home.
  • Silver Sneakers: Another fitness option for seniors to explore is called Silver Sneakers. They provide free fitness club memberships in conjunction with different health insurance plans. Visit the Silver Sneakers website to see if your health plan is a partner.

As with any new form of exercise, talk with your primary care physician before getting started.

Wellness Programs at Sunrise

At Sunrise, one of our 8 Signature Programs is Live With Action. Because we know aging well requires staying active, you will find a variety of physical fitness programs every day at each of our communities. We invite you to visit us at your convenience to learn more.