With spring a few months away and cold winter winds still blowing in Kearney, seniors living in the Cambridge Court assisted living community may be looking for a way to beat the winter blues and stay active.
There's a reason winter weight gain is such a cliche. As the days grow shorter, temperatures drop and outdoor environments become more inhospitable, people of every age become more sedentary. And it's no wonder: your favorite chair near a fire or a warm blanket in bed can be the best of companions on a warm winter morning or afternoon.
While winter is a great time to catch up on reading lists and enjoy sedentary hobbies in cozy rooms, seniors who want to maintain their health find creative ways to keep moving. Here are three tips to stay mobile and get exercise indoors during cold months.
Even if you don't engage in regular exercise routines in the assisted living community, simply causing yourself to need to walk more can help get your step count up on a daily basis. For example, if you usually make it a habit to take a snack from the dining room back to your apartment for later, don't. That forces you to make an extra trip back during the day if you get hungry. You can also take the longer way to any destination in the community if possible. If there is no longer way, walk the opposite way down the hall first and then double back every time you're going somewhere. You will only add a few minutes a day to your schedule but get a lot more movement in.
Sitting for hours at a time without moving is unhealthy, but it can be easy to get wrapped up in a book, television program, hobby or conversation. Use a kitchen timer or cell phone to set an audible alarm every 45 minutes. Get up and move around for 10 to 15 minutes as you're able, even if it's just to go to the restroom, water your plants or make a cup of tea.
If you can't handle 10 to 15 minutes of movement, set a timer for every 30 minutes and move for five. You can customize this tip for any fitness level or schedule.
Wear small ankle or wrist weights to add some resistance to everyday movements such as walking or reaching for items on a shelf. Your muscles will work just a little harder with every movement, which helps keep them strong.
In addition to these creative ways to integrate movement into your day, don't forget about the exercise programs available to all residents of Cambridge Court. Enjoy professionally led routines that can be customized to any fitness level or physical capability. And always remember to talk to your health care provider before embarking on a new exercise regime to ensure it is appropriate and safe.