Comfort Life - Your guide to retirement & care

Any Season is the Right Season to Keep Fit

Now that the warm sunny days are behind us, does not mean you should curl up in front of the television and become a ‘couch potato’. Wherever you live there are still ways to keep active and warm. Remember exercise is the first defense to staying well and keeping your mind sharp. It is as important as good nutrition.

Exercise inside

If you live alone and want to exercise in your own living space, go to the library or on-line to find an exercise CD/video with a program designed for seniors, so that you can follow along by playing it on your computer or in your DVD player.

Some seniors’ residences arrange to have regular exercise sessions in the building. I’ve visited some where there are nicely outfitted exercise rooms with equipment made for seniors.

Or, contact the local community centre to find out about the programs designed for seniors such as; pilates, tai chi, yoga, gentle exercise, table tennis, carpet bowling, or badminton. If your local centre has a swimming pool, take part in an aquafit class, or just get in the water and move about in the recreational end. You don’t have to be a great swimmer to hold onto the edge and do flutter kicks or use float devices to paddle about. It’s a great place to meet people too.

For people who like dancing, line dancing is fun and great exercise, as well as social. Some centres have regular tea dances for seniors where you can practise the old routines.

Some local seniors trade in their bicycles once the snow flies to walk in town on quiet back streets. Others belong to bowling leagues. Winter hiking/walking is good exercise and participants enjoy lunch or a hot drink afterwards.

If you don’t like to be outdoors during the winter, try mall walking. Seniors alone, in pairs, or in groups are welcomed in most indoor malls early mornings to walk before the stores open. After 30 or 40 minutes of brisk walking, seniors congregate at the coffee outlets for a little socializing.

Contact your local Family Health Unit for a sheet of simple exercises which can be performed at the kitchen counter or sitting in your favourite chair.

Spring Back

Once Spring returns, get outdoors to view the flowers and breathe in the fresh air. Find a few others to walk with. It doesn’t have to be formal but it does have to be regular. Follow up the walk with a cup of tea or coffee at a cafe. My group is of various ages over 65 and from a wide range of backgrounds. We have a lunch in a restaurant mid-winter to catch up and plan the Spring start up date.

I take brisk walks along the river near where I live. I meet lots of people along the path and sometimes stop to chat with the dog walkers. I don’t feel lonely as everyone says "hello", whether they are jogging, riding bicycles, or walking.

Lawn bowling, and golf start up in the Spring. Most clubs have special rates for beginners and seniors.

Window Shopping

If you live near shops, combine walking with window shopping. It is inexpensive and fun. You see where you might find a gift when you need one, when the sales are happening, what is in fashion, all while getting exercise.

When I lived in a big city without a car, I bought groceries in smaller quantities walking to and from the local shops as well as to the supermarket. It was a great way to get exercise, visit the library and get food.

Get off the couch, not just to go to the dining table, but to be active. It will keep you flexible, stronger, and mentally sharper.

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How do you stay active during the cold winter months? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

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