It can be easy to want to be more sedentary and spend more time relaxing during the winter. But staying healthy is something that should be a focus throughout the year, especially for older adults. Thankfully, South Carolina graces us with cool, beautiful winter weather that encourages exercise. When it comes to enjoying outdoor activity, the winter allows you to get moving in ways you might not be able to during the hot and humid summer months. However, there are also plenty of indoor workouts for the days you want to stay inside.
We’ve narrowed it down to five of the best senior exercise ideas to stay active all winter long!
Take advantage of the gorgeous, mild Lowcountry weather with a simple and healthy exercise: walking. This enjoyable activity can provide a variety of health benefits that decreases the risk of cardiovascular problems. According to Harvard Health, walking can reduce mental stress, vascular stiffness, and blood pressure. Plus, it’s easy to tailor walking to your needs. You can walk briskly for a cardio workout or stroll casually for an easier, gentler exercise.
Consider asking your friends, loved ones, or neighbors to join you on a regular walk. You can chat with friends, enjoy the beauty of nature, and take in some fresh air—all while keeping your body healthy, fit, and active!
Thanks to our walking club, Vineyard Bluffton residents can turn their exercise routine into a fun way to connect socially!
Walking isn’t the only way to get out and about during the winter months. One of the most popular senior exercise ideas is cycling. While it may seem a bit more intense, it can be a lower impact workout than walking or jogging. As Livestrong.com explains, biking is “a non-weight-bearing exercise [with] less impact on the joints…if you are looking for a lower impact form of exercise due to knee, hip or other joint problems, biking may be the better form of exercise.”
Again, this one is easy to adjust to your particular needs. You can bike on smooth roads or more challenging trails. Depending on your physical fitness level, you can choose to ride slowly or really pound the petals and give yourself a workout! When it comes to pace, always feel free to check in with your medical provider, for tailored exercise advice.
On the days where it may be a bit too cool to bike outdoors, you don’t have to skip cycling! You can try using an indoor stationary bike, which is also a great option if you have issues with balance.
At Vineyard Bluffton, we include recumbent bikes and indoor cycling options in our gym.
Dancing is another one of the great senior exercise ideas for when it’s a bit too chilly outside. But it’s still a fun way to get your workout in—without it feeling like a workout! Dancing provides multiple health benefits, including increased balance, better coordination, and improved heart health. Increased balance is especially important for older adults, as it can reduce the risk of falls or injuries.
There are multiple ways you can add dancing to your life. You can take a class or dance with a partner. Or you can simply turn on the radio and dance in your room alone! If you find the winter has got your down, dancing to your favorite songs can brighten your day.
While it may seem relaxing, gardening can provide a great workout while you tend to your flowers and vegetables. A scientific study found that “healthy older gardeners can meet their daily physical activity recommendations from gardening, and it may be a factor leading to good physical and mental health.” Learn more in our blog post, The Health Benefits of Gardening.
When gardening, not only are you caring for your body but also your mind and spirit. It’s deeply fulfilling to watch something you’ve planted come to life. Thanks to mild South Carolina winters, you can garden through much of the winter months. (And even when you can’t, you can prep seeds or tend to indoor plants.)
Residents at Vineyard Bluffton can join us for our gardening club, where they can make friends, and get physical exercise while they grow!
Looking for a mild, calming exercise practice that you can do both inside and outside? Yoga is one of the most flexible senior exercise ideas—no pun intended! On a sunny day, take your mat outside. When it’s cooler or cloudy, do your yoga stretches indoors. Yoga offers a wonderful workout that can improve your balance, mood, muscle tone, and strength. It may even help improve your sleep, according to a recent survey.
For new yogis, start with an instructor or class so that you can learn the proper foundational poses. Once you get used to the practice, you can enjoy yoga from the comfort of your home (inside or out), with the help of guided videos.
Try Out These Senior Exercise Ideas This Winter
Just because the world seems to slow down during the winter doesn’t mean you have to. Embrace the mild southern winters and build an exercise routine that lets you fully enjoy the season. Whether you try dancing, yoga, walking, cycling, or gardening, you can make this a fun, active, and healthy winter.
Remember always to consult your medical provider or a professional physical trainer before you begin a new exercise routine.