Stay Active this Winter: Exercise Tips for Seniors

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Stay Active this Winter: Exercise Tips for Seniors

January 21, 2021
Updated for 2021

Snow, ice, and cold temperatures can make getting outside and staying active more of a challenge in winter for older adults. Light exercises can help you maintain your physical and mental health, reducing feelings of depression and isolation, as well as helping to reduce the risk of falling.
 
InnovAge’s clinical exercise physiologists offer an exercise routine for seniors that can be done at home. But first, make sure you're warmed up properly.
 
In order for your body to move optimally, it needs to be at the right temperature (like letting the engine in the car warm up). “Just getting up and moving around will warm up your muscles,” says David Hoeng, a clinical exercise therapist at InnovAge’s Aurora center in Colorado.
 
David also advises that depending on your stability, these exercises should be done seated, or not at all. Either way, keep your back straight and sit tall. Of course, be sure to talk with your doctor about what exercises make the most sense for you before trying any of these on your own.

1. Toe Raises: Start with both of your feet flat on the floor. Next, raise up both forefeet and toes, as shown, as you bend your ankle. Keep your heels on the floor the entire time.
  • Repeat 10 times; hold two seconds. Complete three sets; perform two times a day
Tow-Raise.JPG

2. Heel Raise / Calf Raise: Start with both feet flat on the floor. Next, raise up your heels as you press your toes down. Keep your toes on the floor the entire time.
  • Repeat 10 times; hold two seconds. Complete three sets; perform two times a day
Heel-Raise-Calf-Raise.JPG

3. Seated Marching: While seated in a chair, lift up your foot and knee, set it down and then perform the same movement with your other leg. Repeat these alternating movements.
  • Repeat 10 times; hold two seconds. Complete three sets; perform two times a day
Seated-Marching.JPG
4. Long Arc Quad: While seated with your knees in a bent position and your heels touching the ground, slowly straighten one knee/leg as you raise that foot upward, as shown. Lower your foot back down until your heel touches the ground. Repeat with other leg.
  • Repeat 10 times; hold five seconds. Complete three sets; perform two times a day
Long-Arc-Quad.JPG
 
There are other exercise alternatives as well. If you like to walk but want to stay away from icy sidewalks, look for a well-paved and well-traveled path in a nearby park. If you can walk around safely in your home, try to do so for two to three minutes each hour. For anything outside of the house, be sure to follow all proper COVID-19 protocols such as wearing a face covering and keep your physical distance from others. 
 
“Whatever you choose to do,” says David, “keeping active, and doing it safely, will help keep you healthy this winter.”
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