When winter blows in, most seniors pull the blankets over their heads and go back to sleep. This is because they don’t feel like going out and want to remain indoors in heated homes. But the studies say it’s important that they safely keep up physical activity and hobbies in the cold weather too.
Should You Exercise Outdoors In Cold?
Fitness Buffhq (Aka Best Fitness Guru) says: “There’s no reason that you require a break from physical activities, whether temperate or even colder. Working out when the temperature drops have some distinct advantages over exercising in warmer weather if you take certain precautions and do so safely.
“It’s important to get outside as much as possible, whether it’s temperate or even colder, as long as you take certain precautions and do so safely.”
“Even if it’s cold, bundling up adequately and getting outside is good for you physically and your mental health,” he says.
Continue with your physical activities such as walking, biking, or just being in nature, Fitness Buffhq advised.
How To Stay Active in Cold Weather?
Examples of some outdoor activities:
- Hiking or brisk walking
- Jogging or running
- Shoveling snow
- Raking leaves
- Ice skating
- Cross-country skiing
Caution: You must be cautious of harsh weather conditions like snow or chilly winds. However, don’t pick up a new strenuous sport such as skiing or snowboarding unless that is already your hobby, he warned.
Precautions For Exercising In Winters
Stay Warm, Stay Safe
When you go out to exercise in cold weather, the most important thing is to stay warm and dry. Layers of clothing can protect you from cold and strong winds.
Cold temperatures, damp conditions, and chilly winds (such as snow and rain) rob your body heat. For instance, as per the National Weather Service, on a 30-degree day with 30-mile-an-hour wind, you will feel about 15 degrees. In addition, if you get wet (from snow or rain), the effect is only amplified. That’s why layers of clothing become mandatory. They trap the heat and help form a kind of insulation against these harsh conditions.
Don’t start layering with cotton. Because when cotton becomes wet with sweat, rain, or snow, the moisture is trapped and will make you feel colder. For the first layer, you need something that pulls moisture away from your skin, such as the moisture-wicking fabrics used in high-performance sportswear. Then add a layer of fleece; finally, top with a thin waterproof layer.
Don’t skip drinking water even if you are exercising in cooler weather. Remember, thirst isn’t the best indicator that you need to drink water.
Bye-Bye, Couch Potato!
If the weather prevents you from getting outside, don’t just reach for the remote to watch TV. There are several ways to do physical activity indoors—no gym is needed. First, you can do bodyweight exercises. You can use resistance bands, hand weights, or a heavy backpack to add intensity to your exercises.
Some Examples of indoor physical activities/exercises:
- Stair climbing
- Active housework like sweeping and vacuuming
- Mall walking
- Roller skating
- Move more, with more intensity, and sit less.
- Yoga or other fun group classes at your community center, studio, or local gym
- If your hobby is gardening outside, you can continue it by planning for the upcoming season and growing some indoor plants in the winter. For this, take the help of gardening catalogs.
Here are some tips for indoor activities to keep you mentally busy:
To keep you mentally busy, pursue indoor activities that you like, like doing puzzles, reading, playing games, knitting, or crafting.
The purpose is to keep you physically and mentally active, and hobbies help do that. They bring fun and joy to your life, which is necessary for preserving cognitive function and mental health. So do activities to remain engaged and do things you enjoy that connect you to your community.
What if you are recovering from a cardiac event or stroke?
Regular physical activity can help lower your risk of having another heart attack.
According to the American Heart Association, there is strong evidence that light exercise and physical activity after stroke can improve cardiovascular fitness, walking ability, and upper arm strength.
But if you’ve had a heart stroke or attack, check with your doctor before starting any exercise to ensure that you follow a safe, beneficial physical activity program.
Bonus Tips for Doing Physical Activities Outdoors In Winter
- It’s an excellent opportunity to take the sunlight in small doses. Not only can sunlight get you some vitamin D but improve many people’s moods.
- No heat and humidity to deal with. winter’s cool temperature might make you feel active and rejuvenated.
- You may be able to exercise longer in cool weather—which means you will burn more calories.
- Exercise increases your immunity during cold and flu season. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, even a few minutes of exercise per day can help prevent simple viral and bacterial infections.
Note: If you have any kind of lung, cardiovascular, or balance issues, talk to your doctor before exercising outdoors in the cold, and do it safely.
Disclaimer: The author is not a doctor. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.
About Author: Renu Bakshi, AKA Fitness Buffhq – Best Fitness Guru, is ISSA Certified Elite Trainer. He passed Personal Fitness Trainer Course, Nutrition Health Coach course & Specialist Exercise Therapy course from ISSA, the USA, obtaining + 97% marks. He shares his experience and knowledge about nutrition and effective workouts to get you in the best shape of your life, no matter how old you may be. The author says: “For me, age is just a number!”