Physical activity is important at any age, but it’s essential for seniors. The CDC recommends that people 65 and older devote at least 150 minutes a week to exercise to maintain muscle mass, flexibility, balance, and strength. Staying active also has a positive impact on emotional well-being.
Here in Maine, we experience all four seasons, and it’s not always wise to spend time outside during the winter for seniors. Fortunately, you or your loved one can do plenty of indoor activities and exercises when it’s cold, snowy, or icy outside! Have a look through some of our suggestions below to get started, but remember that you should have your primary care provider approve any exercise routine before starting it.
Start Small & Work Your Way Up
If you haven’t exercised in a while or if you struggle with mobility, we recommend starting small. A simple activity is to go from sitting to standing and walking around your home. Just ensure your floors are clear of impediments so you don’t trip or fall. If you have stairs and can walk up and down them safely with a railing, this would also be a great addition to your exercise regimen.
Be Gentle, But Keep Moving
Exercise doesn’t have to be grueling! Sporadic movement throughout the day is better than nothing. Be gentle with your body, but make sure you move throughout the day, even if it’s just from one room to another. If you have mobility issues that limit you, turn to your primary care provider for recommendations on exercises you can do while sitting or lying down, such as chair yoga or other gentle exercises. And if you have trouble remembering to move, consider leaving reminders out for yourself. A sticky note on your bedside table, end table, mirror, or refrigerator might do the trick.
Make Movement Fun
You can tailor your exercise to your interests! Make it fun by playing your favorite music or watching an exercise video you enjoy. Better yet, invite a friend or family member to join you, or join an online exercise class. Activities with others can make anything more enjoyable.
Venture Outside on Nice Days
Even in Maine, we have a few sunny days during the winter. If there’s no precipitation and the sidewalks are clear, put on your most supportive and stable footwear and head outside for a walk. Remember to take it slow and watch where you put your feet to avoid icy spots. And, as with all of our suggestions, adjust your plans accordingly if you have mobility issues.
Turn to the Experts
Here at The Landing at Cape Elizabeth, we have a staff of RNs, LPNs, and nurses’ aides to help residents stay active while keeping them safe. We also have a full calendar of activities each month tailored to the season and weather. Want to learn more about life at The Landing at Cape Elizabeth and see how we make winter for seniors enjoyable? Whether you would like to learn more or you’re ready to schedule a tour, we look forward to speaking with you.