Seniors still need to exercise in the winter, but it’s important that seniors take special precautions if they are going to exercise outdoors. Indoor exercise may be the best option for seniors during the winter but some seniors may enjoy getting outside and exercising outdoors. If your senior loved one likes the cold and snow and wants to continue to exercise outdoors here are a few expert tips to help them exercise safely:
Dress In Layers
The secret to staying warm and dry when exercising outdoors in the winter is dressing in layers. Seniors should layer up their clothing so that they won’t get chilled when they are walking or exercising outdoors. The top layer should always be a waterproof windbreaker or shell that won’t absorb moisture so that even if starts to rain or snow your senior loved one will stay warn and dry. Wearing a layer or two of socks is also a good idea.
Always Warm Up First
It’s very important to warm up muscles before exercising in the cold. Seniors who are planning on exercising outdoors should do a quick 15 to 20 minutes of stretches, walking in place, or other light exercise indoors so that their muscles are warmed up and ready to go when they go outside. Seniors also need to cool down at the end of the workout so that their muscles don’t freeze up and get stiff.
Choose A Route Carefully
Walking outdoors in the winter can be very treacherous. When choosing a route for walking or cycling in the winter seniors should look for a path that is well-maintained with no cracks or breaks and that is also plowed and salted so that it won’t be slippery. Most parks will plow and salt their walking paths during the winter. Some senior centers do as well. And if your senior loved one lives in a community with an HOA the HOA may pay for walking trails and sidewalks to be plowed and salted so that they are safe for seniors to walk on or cycle on during the winter. Try to avoid crowded streets.
In the winter darkness comes early and stays late. Seniors who are exercising outdoors in the morning or the late afternoon should wear a reflective vest over their jacket. They also should wear a miner’s headlamp, reflective gloves, and other reflective gear. It’s important to be as visible as possible so that drivers can see them as they walk. Reflective tape is inexpensive and can be added to jackets, hats, gloves, and shoes to make seniors more visible in low light conditions or in the dark.
Don’t Go Alone
Seniors shouldn’t exercise outdoors alone in the winter. There are walking clubs and other groups that seniors can join to get some exercise with other seniors. A home care provider can also go with your senior loved one on walks or bike rides to make sure that your senior is safe while they exercise. Home care providers can also help ensure that seniors get into cozy warm clothes and don’t get chilled after their exercise.