5 Ways to Stay Active During a Wintertime Pandemic

5 Ways to Stay Active During a Wintertime Pandemic

We all know it can be difficult to stay active in the winter. Short days and cold weather make us want to just hunker down and wish for spring. Add in a dangerous pandemic that is limiting our social interactions, and it can be even harder to stay motivated.

It’s more important than ever for older adults to keep moving. Physical activity helps reduce the likelihood of injuries and falls and can improve balance and even prevent disease. The psychological benefits of activity also support mental health and wellbeing, both of which may now feel fragile due to the limitations and fear around COVID-19.

Even with the challenges the season and the pandemic can bring, there are ways to add activity into your day. As always, when starting a new or different exercise routine, it’s important to check with your physician about the amount and kinds of activity that is most appropriate for you and your fitness level.

1. Fitness opportunities at Meth-Wick

Our Meth-Wick TV programming on Channel 16 and Resident Facebook Group offers fitness classes so residents can participate from the comfort of their own residence. We also offer classes via Zoom during the Pandemic. These classes allow for interaction with an instructor, who can offer encouragement, watch for correct form, signs of fatigue, and more. Contact the Fitness office at 319-297-8612 to determine openings and class availability.

2. Stretch

Gentle stretching helps keep muscles flexible and can improve your posture and circulation. It can also be done any time, so it’s easy to sneak a few extra minutes of stretching in throughout your day. Even everyday activities are ideal for adding in a stretch or two: stand and stretch during the commercials when watching TV, or when you’re talking on the phone.

For a quick session to start your day, check out this video from AARP:

3. Walk

Getting outside for a walk may not always sound appealing in the winter, but if you have a clear sidewalk and bundle up, the benefits of fresh air and movement are second-to-none. If the idea of 20 or 30 minutes outside makes you less than enthusiastic, break up your activity time into 10-minute increments. Better yet, schedule your walks so they become part of your routine, such as 10 minutes after breakfast and 10 minutes after lunch.

Also consider adding a few extra minutes of walking time to one of your regular tasks, such as going outside to get the mail or taking the trash out. Parking a little further from your destination is also a good way to get extra steps in during the day.

4. Strength exercises

The benefits of strength training—also called resistance training—are numerous. Just a few minutes a day can help keep your bones strong, prevent falls, promote mobility, and support positive mental health. It’s important not to overdo it, especially if you are new to these types of exercise. The popular fitness program designed just for older adults, Silver Sneakers, has several videos online to view free at  SilverSneakers on YouTube, including this strength training workout you can do while seated:

5. Dance

There’s nothing like music for motivation. So, the next time you want to get your heart pumping and your feet moving, turn on your favorite tunes and move to the beat.

Daily movement can improve your overall health and your emotional health, which is so important during the dark days of winter and as we continue to navigate a pandemic.

For more information on additional wellness options for Meth-With Community residents, visit our Wellness & Recreation page and contact our director of wellness and recreation, Eryn Cronbaugh at 319-297- 8620 or ecronbaugh@methwick.org.