Seniors: Ways for seniors to stay fit this winter

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Seniors: Ways for seniors to stay fit this winter
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By Darline Buchannon

Age is in the mind of the beholder. Anyone who chooses to move their body can get fit and stay physically active.

Getting and staying physically fit doesn’t necessarily mean having a gym membership or spending long hours on a treadmill. Physical fitness is something that everybody can achieve, and it has no age limits. However, starting and staying physical is challenging during the winter months. Here are a few tips to help you find fitness during the winter.

Schedule it

Every day is the perfect day to get started. Pick your day and put it on your schedule at the beginning of the week. This way, you can plan around it. If a friend invites you to lunch, you’ll be prepared to say, “Sorry, I’m busy on that day.”

Proceed with caution

Even though age is in the mind of the beholder, our bodies need a little more convincing.

Age increases the risk of injury and amount of recovery time. Because of this, seniors are often told, “Don’t push yourself, listen to your body and make realistic goals to achieve.”

That’s sound advice, but challenging yourself can be a more motivating way to think about making small improvements in your fitness. Challenge yourself to do a 10-second wall sit three times a day. After completing that challenge three days in a row, give yourself another exercise challenge.

Remember, age is just a number that you should consider when determining how to approach the fitness challenge of your choosing, but don’t let it be a barrier to the goals you set for yourself.

Prevent the doldrums

Variety is the spice of life and fitness.

People tend to fall off their fitness commitment because it becomes monotonous and dull. Therefore, alternating your routine between aerobic, strength, flexibility and balance exercises from day to day will keep the boredom away with the added bonus of giving you well-rounded results.

Strategize your fitness

Consistency is the most important component to any fitness program, but consistency often falls off the rails while excuses settle in during the winter months. Write down back-up plans so that when the weather doesn’t cooperate, you are already set to fight off the excuses.

Use your imagination and make it fun.

Put fitness into your daily routine

Do 20 standing leg curls while brushing one side of your teeth and then switch legs when you switch sides of your mouth.

Keep a step stool around

When putting things away, do them one step at a time, literally. Instead of putting everything up on a higher shelf all at once, step up and down with each item.

FaceTime with the grandkids

Take advantage of technology and do fun fitness activities with the grandkids while you video chat with them.

Work your shoulders by doing arm circles. Increase flexibility in your spine by doing side to side bends. Increase your leg strength with seated leg extensions and gain upper chest strength by doing exaggerated clapping. These are all silly fun things that your little grandkids will have get a kick out of doing with you.

Join a gym

Keep in mind that although fitness can be achieved outside a gym environment, a gym membership can provide you with professional advice and oversight to assist and motivate you as you begin and maintain your winter fitness endeavor.

The writer brings her expertise in group fitness training to Old Town at Sport & Health. She is a certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor.

(More seniors: A guide to talking with your doctor)

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