Staying active and warm through winterPosted on: 07 December 2016 by 50connect editorial
Staying active and mobile during winter is essential. Grainne McCarthy, Clinical Lead at Elder shares her top tips for easy winter workouts.
With winter fast approaching and the days getting darker and colder, it can be difficult to stay warm, let alone force yourself to remain active and brave the outdoors. However, there are numerous benefits to exercising once you reach your fifties, as regular exercise, even if not very intense, has been shown to improve joint mobility, improve sleep and cognitive function, as well as help fight disease.
The first step to getting yourself out and exercising is to make sure that you are warm when you start. Before heading outside, make sure to do a ten-minute mixture of stretches and brisk walking, to warm up your muscles and get your heart rate up. If you have just started on a new exercise regime, this is especially important as you will ensure that you get the most out of your work out and won’t be at the risk of over-straining yourself.
If you can’t face going outside in the cold and dark, this could be the perfect time to change your exercise routine and try out something new. You can choose from a variety of sports, like badminton, bowls, cycling, pilates, yoga – all of which can be done indoors and are great for getting your heart rate up and staying warm. Alternatively, if you feel like a class isn’t for you, there are plenty of YouTube videos and apps on exercising at home, with minimal equipment.
Even if you are at home and don’t really enjoy exercising, it’s no reason to sit still and get cold. Instead, try to move around every hour, whether it is to get yourself a cup of tea, make a snack, or even better – clean your home. Vacuuming, de-cluttering, rearranging and dusting your home will keep you active and warm, whilst also getting your home into a pristine condition ahead of Christmas.
Whether you are staying active at home, or braving the outdoors for a jog or walk, make sure that you are dressed properly. Your outdoor exercise clothes should allow for a thermal layer to go underneath, such as a top or leggings, as well as wearing an outer layer that is light and won’t restrict your movement, while also protecting you from the wind. Additionally, even if your core is warm, your extremities can get cold, so make sure to bring some gloves and a hat and wear warm socks underneath your walking boots.
Getting involved in your local community can actually be great for helping you stay warm and active in the winter, as well as expanding your social circle. Volunteer to help at your local soup kitchen, help out at your local bake sale or help to set up a charity sports event. Active volunteering opportunities will keep you warm and out of the house during the cold winter months.
A great part of staying warm and active in the winter is making sure that you look after your diet. Make sure that you eat plenty of fruits and vegetables throughout the day, as those will keep your energy levels up, allowing you to move around and exercise more. Try to eat at least one hot meal a day and drink plenty of fluids – water, as well as hot tea – adding a bit of ginger to your tea will also help improve your blood circulation and keep you warm.
For further advice about staying warm this winter, visit Elder.
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