Staying physically active is important at every age, and a consistent exercise routine can be of great benefit to seniors. Exercise doesn’t just help an individual feel stronger and more limber, it can have a significant impact on their mental health and overall well-being. An active lifestyle can even reduce the symptoms of anxiety and/or depression (issues that can be more pronounced in the winter months).
Staying fit doesn’t necessarily mean joining a soccer team or doing Crossfit every other day. In many cases, it’s as simple as taking regular walks or otherwise moving your body throughout the week. But when the cold weather hits Toronto, it can be difficult to spend time outdoors safely—even more so when the roads and sidewalks get icy.
Staying active over the winter isn’t always easy, but it is possible. Here are three easy, enjoyable ways seniors can prioritize their fitness and mental health during the colder seasons. If you have any questions or would like to know more about homecare services in Toronto, please contact us. We’d be glad to hear from you!
Create an indoor walking routine
Seniors who live in a condominium or apartment building can make use of those long hallways to create an easy indoor walking routine. Set a goal and walk “laps” around common areas every day or a few times each week. If you don’t have access to this type of indoor space at home, consider visiting a local mall, library or community centre. The City of Toronto also has many great indoor tracks with designated walking times for seniors. Or, make a point to visit an indoor space like the Art Gallery of Ontario—not only is it beautiful and quiet, the AGO is fully accessible and is an excellent place to stretch your legs. You can even stop for a coffee or lunch in the gallery!
Find an indoor pool
Many condominiums have indoor pools, and there are even more available at local gyms and community centres. If you live near a college or university campus, they may also have public swim times you can take advantage of. Find a great pool in your neighbourhood and check out the schedule—there may be a gentle aquafit class or lap swim time that suits your needs. Consider using this resource to find a public pool near you—some locations have warm water pools, and others have hot tubs that offer the benefit of relaxation while providing heat therapy for arthritis or other joint pain. If you (or your aging loved one) requires a lift to get in or out of the pool, call ahead to be sure one is available and functioning. You can also inquire about pools with steps into the shallow end instead of steep and narrow ladders.
Make use of videos or in-person classes
YouTube has a wealth of fitness videos for seniors including Chair Fit programs, gentle yoga instruction, balance exercises, strength training and more. These videos are free and extremely convenient as they’re available on demand. Our caregivers would be pleased to assist with the technology and provide an additional layer of safety by being present during these activities. Some caregivers may even want to join in! You can also take an in-person class at a local fitness centre or community centre. Your local senior centre may also offer programming—check their website or give them a call to see what’s available. There may be a great weekly workout for older adults, a fun Zumba program or a low impact strength training class. All the better if you go with a friend!
Thanks for reading—we hope this information motivates you to create a safe, consistent fitness routine that works all fall and winter long. As that classic television spot always said: keep fit and have fun!