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Century Park Blog

Staying Active in Cold Weather: Safety Tips for Outdoor and Indoor Activities

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Health Tips

Staying Active in Cold Weather: Safety Tips for Outdoor and Indoor Activities

Safe activity in colder weather

While indoor activities are a great way to keep moving, outdoor activities and sun should still be incorporated into your activity routine when possible. Sun exposure can boost vitamin D.

Outdoor activities

Cold weather shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the outdoors. Here are some fun ways to get moving during the chilly winter months:

  • Take a walk: Keep it simple by strolling around your yard, neighborhood, or local park. If you don’t feel comfortable or motivated walking alone, find a walking buddy or exercise group to go with you.
  • Take up cross-country skiing or snowshoeing: Many ski centers have discounts for older adults and veterans. And if you’re new to the sport, ask about lessons.
  • Tend to the garden or yard: Gardening is a year-round physical activity. Many root vegetables, leafy greens, and flowering plants grow during winter months. And yard work, like raking leaves or shoveling snow, is considered moderate-to-vigorous activity that gets your heart pumping.
  • Take up a do-it-yourself project: Tap into your crafty side by repainting your front door or reorganizing your garage. Outdoor projects can be a fun way to get yourself moving, and they’re a great way to channel creativity, which can boost your mood.

Outdoor exercise safety

Before heading outside, be aware of winter risks. When exposed to the cold, your body must adapt to prevent heat loss. Falling on icy surfaces is also a concern, but with the right preparation, you can stay safe outdoors during the winter months.

Indoor exercise

Don’t let freezing weather stop you in your tracks. Indoor exercise can be just as effective as outdoor activities. Get moving with a variety of options.

  • Join a Tai Chi session: Multiple studies have reported that Tai Chi effectively prevents falls in older adults by incorporating balance, coordination, strength, and endurance. Many gyms and senior centers offer Tai Chi as a group class, and you can find videos online to guide you through the movements at home.
  • Take a yoga class: Many recreation and senior centers offer group yoga classes to improve mobility, balance, strength, and mental health. You can also look for free lessons online. Start your search by browsing the Silver Sneakers yoga videos, which offer a variety of lessons that cater to all levels.
  • Work out at a gym: Gyms offer a variety of equipment to get you moving. You can lift weights, ride a stationary bike, or use the other weight machines. Many senior centers have gyms available for members.
  • Work out at home with videos: You don’t always need a gym to get a workout. Use everyday items in your house as “equipment” to challenge yourself, like heavy books or a set of stairs. YouTube is a great resource for home workouts but look for lessons with clear instructions and professional guidance.
  • Join an indoor sport: Many communities have sports leagues where you can practice and compete indoors with a team. Pickleball and bowling are two popular options.

Indoor exercise safety

While the following precautions aren’t exclusive to indoor activities, they are important reminders about exercise safety. Keep these in mind when you’re exercising at the gym or in your home.

  • Ask for help: If you’re not sure how to do an exercise safely, ask for help.
  • Declutter your workout space: Home workouts are challenging enough without dodging the coffee table. When you choose a workout space, ensure you have ample room to complete your workout.
  • Wear the right shoes: If you’re lifting weights, using machines, or attending a class with others, protect your feet by wearing closed-toe shoes.
  • Be smart with surfaces: Unless you’re participating in an activity that calls for sliding (like bowling), opt for grippy surfaces that don’t pose a risk for falls.
  • Know your limits: You can find many home workouts online, but they’re not all designed for beginners.
  • Stay in communication: Keeping a phone nearby or wearing a medical alert system is important if exercising alone at home. But it’s also a good idea to keep them close while in public spaces, like the gym, even if there are staff nearby.

Bottom line

Don’t let cold weather put a damper on your activity levels. It’s important to stay active all year to keep your body strong and your mind sharp, so be adventurous and explore new ways to move.

Bundle up and head outdoors to soak in nature but take precautions to stay safe. If the weather doesn’t permit outdoor exercise, get creative with some indoor activities, like a home workout, a boxing lesson at your local gym, or Tai Chi at our local senior center.

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