Winter Outdoor Exercise: Seniors Edition

When the weather outside turns chilly, many use it as an excuse to slow down their senior fitness routine. In a cold climate, it can be tougher to get outside for those who enjoy being outdoors for their workout. With more time spent inside and fewer hours of daylight, staying motivated to partake in physical activity can be extremely difficult. However, there are several ways to make the most of the snow and get a great workout all through the winter season that will help keep you in shape.

Winter Outdoor Exercise: The Best Options for Seniors

To avoid seasonal sadness or becoming dormant, try to do some form of physical activity everyday. There are plenty of outdoor and indoor exercises to keep you busy and engaged.

Snowshoeing

As a resistance against your legs and feet, snowshoeing adds a little bit of extra weight in each step, challenging your muscles and making you work harder with each step. Trudging in and out of the snow is an effective way to burn calories and strengthen your legs. Walking is one of the best ways to get physical activity for seniors, and if you can walk, you can snowshoe.

Winter walking

If you don’t have snowshoes, you can still get some of the same effect from just walking in your boots. Snowshoes have more surface area, so the intensity of the workout is a higher, but walking in the snow still requires more energy. If you decide to walk in the snow, just be sure to get waterproof boots and warm gear to stay dry.

Shoveling is a Great Winter Outdoor Exercise

Believe it or not, shoveling snow is a high-intensity exercise that works many muscle groups. For seniors who shovel their own snow as a form of exercise, it is important not to overload the shovel. As a strenuous exercise, seniors should not overdo it, and ask for help or hire someone else to shovel if  there is a lot of pathway to clear. Too much weight can cause injury if you lift incorrectly. However, shoveling snow away from your doors can be a replacement for normal strength training.

Cross-country skiing

Like snowshoeing, cross-country skiing requires a great deal of effort and is a tough workout. It does require a bit of expertise but is a sport that can be quickly learned. For seniors who are very active and have good balance, this can be a fun way to get around in the winter. It is one of the best aerobic exercises and also incorporates strength training with resistance against the snow. You can rent cross-country skis from a sporting goods store or buy your own pair to work out around your neighborhood.

Pete Blasi