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4 Ways Seniors Can Stay Active in the Winter

by Lauren Neale | Published December 21, 2023 | Reviewed by John Krahnert

Cold weather outside can discourage many seniors from remaining physically active during the winter.  However, staying physically active is important no matter the time of year.  So even though it is hard to find creative ways to stay active in the winter, it should be prioritized.

The Mayo Clinic advises seniors to aim for two and a half hours of moderately intense physical activity each week.1  This will help reduce chronic health risks, assist core strength and balance, and even improve your mood.1  The benefits of physical activity, even during the winter months, far outweigh the negatives.  You just need to know how to add in physical activity without having to brave the cold!

Four Ways Seniors Can Stay Active in the Winter

Staying active during the winter can promote the same health benefits that an active lifestyle brings during the warmer months.  It just means that some of your exercise routines may need to adapt or adjust due to the cold.  If you’re not sure where to get started, here are four ways seniors can stay active and warm during the winter.

1. Walk in the Mall

When the weather is particularly frigid or the forecast calls for snow, this may dissuade you from taking a walk.  However, there are many places you can go for walks that don’t call for bundling up for cold weather.  One of the best places to walk during the winter is at the mall.2  The main thoroughfare can cover a lot of ground and be perfect for getting your steps in.  You can still take your purposeful strides down the main halls, or you can get your steps in by perusing the stores.  The choice is up to you!  The important thing is you are getting physical exercise without the cold air.

2. Join a Gym

Gym memberships are great this time of year!  You have access to gym equipment from treadmills and ellipticals to sitting bikes and weights, all within a warm, enclosed building.  Some gyms may offer fitness classes or sports groups you can join.  If you are enrolled in Medicare, then you may have access to a subscription called SilverSneakers.  This subscription gives you access to certain gyms all across the United States and a login for online fitness classes.  If you want to learn more, check out our article about a SilverSneakers subscription or call a licensed insurance agent to discuss Medicare plans that include this benefit.  Joining a gym is an easy way to supplement your outdoor exercising during the winter months.

3. Watch an Exercise Video Online

If a gym membership doesn’t work for you, another way to stay active in the winter is by finding exercise videos online.  If you explore YouTube, there are thousands of videos that walk you step by step through different exercises from yoga to strength training and everything in between.  Find the option that works best for you and use what you can around the house as weights or props.1

4. Do Chores Around the House

Another way to stay active during the winter can be done from the comfort of your home!  Everyone has chores that must get done around the house, so see this as a chance to get some physical activity.3  Dusting the living room can turn into an arm workout.  Getting laundry out of the washer or dryer could turn into quad squats.  Walking up and down the stairs to organize and put things away can get your heart rate up.  Don’t disqualify those things just because they don’t sound like exercise, they count!3

Stay Warm and Stay Active

 The winter season can coop people indoors and discourage some from their regular physical activity.  To combat that this season, consider implementing one of the four ways to stay active this winter.  It can hold incredible benefits for your health and fight off seasonal depression by boosting your mood.  There are plenty of ways to stay active when it’s cold, so find the way that works best for you this winter!

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1 “Ways for Seniors to Remain Active During Winter.” January 29, 2021. Mayo Clinic.

2 Kathleen Zuke and Jackie Thomas. “6 Ways to Stay Physically Active in the Winter.” December 14, 2021. National Council on Aging.

3 “6 Tips to Stay Active This Winter.” June 3, 2022. CDC.

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