You’ve enjoyed the long walks, jogs, hikes, and bike rides that summer’s warm weather made possible, but now winter is fast approaching, and the drop in temperature threatens to put an end to your favorite fitness activities. But don’t fret — we have plenty of winter-friendly fitness ideas to keep you active all season long!
Work Out at Home
You don’t have to leave your home to get a good workout in! When it’s too cold to leave the house, you can choose between a number of home exercises — including stretches, pushups, and squats, to name just a few — that require nothing more than a little space. If you like interacting with materials when exercising, you can also invest in some affordable home exercise equipment, such as hand weights or a jump rope.
Go for a Walk
The weather might prevent you from wanting to go on a stroll through the park or your neighborhood, but you can still get those steps in without having to brave the icy cold. Shopping malls are perfect for long walks, as they tend to open earlier than the shops themselves, are heated and well-lit, and provide amenities such as bathrooms, benches, and water fountains.
Join a Gym
If you don’t have the space or equipment at home, joining a gym is a great alternative. Most gyms offer free weights and weight machines for resistance training, as well as cardio machines such as treadmills, ellipticals, stationary bikes, and stair mills for aerobic exercise. Your local gym will likely provide everything you could want, but you can also use the International Council on Active Aging’s facility locator to browse gyms in your area and select one that offers programs and services for your fitness level.
Take a Fitness Class
Some people prefer working out in groups, and if that’s the case, winter doesn’t have to get in your way. A wide variety of indoor fitness classes — such as water aerobics, zumba, yoga, or cycling — are available to surround you with like-minded individuals and give you that extra incentive to work out. Many gyms offer classes, and you can also check for free options at your local community center. Some health care plans include access to the Silver Sneakers program, which provides a number of different classes to members.
Yoga classes are great for all ages and abilities, and you can usually find a yoga studio not too far away. Community centers and local gyms might also offer classes. Yoga assists with flexibility and balance, and works to tighten your core and build lean muscles. The meditative environment of a yoga class can greatly reduce stress, and if you’re looking for something a bit more upbeat, some yoga classes even incorporate modern music and quicker transitions through poses to keep you on your toes!
In these cold winter months, opt for a workout indoors on a stationary bicycle; if you can’t find a local spin class to participate in, you can always cycle at home or in the gym. Riding a bike is excellent for arthritic knees since it allows full-motion movement, lubricating the joint and helping it move with ease. It’s also great for cardiovascular health and is relatively low-impact.
Swim in an Indoor Pool
Provided that you have access to an indoor pool, swimming can be an excellent way to stay in shape during the winter. Swimming improves heart health and increases flexibility and strength, and is especially great for those with arthritis, as water’s buoyancy makes the activity low-impact and helps to relieve joint pain. Be sure to ask if your local pool offers any group activities, such as water yoga or water aerobics.
Embrace the Snow
Winter weather may limit your exercise options to some extent, but a little snow and cold shouldn’t keep you from going outside altogether! In fact, the seasonal changes bring with them a hoard of outdoor fitness activities that you can’t do during the rest of the year, such as skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, and even taking your grandkids sledding or playing with them in the snow. So, while your everyday workout may have to take place inside, be sure to include some outdoor activities in your winter fitness plans as well.