caregiver and senior lifting weights caregiver and senior lifting weights

3 Ways to Stay Active Indoors

For older adults, staying active is about more than returning to the feelings of our energetic youth. Exercise reduces the impact of health conditions, boosts cognitive abilities, and even improves sleep. In short, exercise can improve quality of life, at any age.

You know that exercise is good for you, and yet it can be difficult to prioritize physical activity when our lives are so busy otherwise. Add in the winter months, and staying active is easy to slip off of your to-do list.

However, it is easy to stay active all winter long, and it doesn’t require braving freezing temperatures or planning around the setting sun. Best of all, these indoor activity tips are simple enough to carry into any season of the year.

Here are three ways to stay active indoors:

Create a Routine

When it comes to exercise, some is better than none. It’s recommended that most adults get an average of 30 minutes of exercise a day. There are pros (and cons) for exercising at any given time of the day, depending on whom you ask—the trick is finding the time that feels best for you, and your schedule. Morning workouts help improve your sleep cycle and evening workouts aid in reducing stress.

Figure out what works best with your body and your lifestyle and then continue with it. You can even add exercise as an appointment on your calendar to help you stay accountable as you’re creating this routine. The most important part is maintaining consistency, which will allow you to establish an exercise routine.

Find Activities You Love

From walking and jogging to yoga, sit-ups, push-ups and more, it’s easy to find an indoor exercise routine that requires little to no equipment; or at minimum, a treadmill or stationary bike will do. When inclement weather moves your workouts indoors, you might have to get creative if you don’t have a gym membership.

While cardio has been shown to improve cardiovascular function and strengthen the lungs, exercise that involves weights has significant benefits for seniors, including maintaining muscle density, burning excess fat, and boosting balance and stability. And you don’t have to be a professional bodybuilder to exercise with weights. In fact, using your own bodyweight to do at-home exercises like push-ups, squats, lunges and planks can be just as effective as using dumbbells.

Yoga, which can be done anywhere, is a low-impact activity with a major payoff. Yoga helps improve flexibility, tone muscles, and stabilize your core, while also having a positive impact on your mental health. And for those who need to make modifications due to health or balance concerns, you can also do yoga while seated in a chair.

Similar to yoga, Pilates is also a wonderful type of exercise to do at home. Pilates focuses on core strength, which also improves stability and balance. Another low-impact exercise, Pilates is easy on joints, making this an ideal addition to your workout routine should you be affected by arthritis, multiple sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease.

Set Small, Measurable Goals

When beginning a new or more consistent routine, it’s important to hold yourself accountable. Creating small goals or micro-goals is a great start. Experts show that small goals help us reach long-term success.

It’s also a good idea to have an accountability partner to help you reach your goals. Your accountability partner could be someone who exercises with you or someone who simply knows that you are committing to exercise more regularly, especially during the winter months when it can be easy to lose motivation. An accountability partner should be someone you speak with regularly, and someone you trust. They can help inspire you, and most importantly, they should be someone you can celebrate your successes with!

The more exercise becomes a part of your daily routine, like brushing your teeth or planning your meals, the easier it will be to stick with it throughout your life.

Hilary Young Author

Hilary Young is a writer dedicated to helping older Americans live healthier, more fulfilling lives. You can find her on Twitter as @hyoungcreative.

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