Senior Fitness in Cold Weather
When you’re in the “senior” age range, exercise is as important as ever. It helps keep blood sugar under control, it helps relieve joint stiffness, it helps keep your heart in shape, etc. If you’ve been exercising outdoors, winter can be a challenging time for your exercise routine. But don’t let it stop you.
- Consider “mall walking,” if the idea of being around people appeals to you.
- Investigate exercise videos for seniors, if you have trouble getting out of the house
- Call senior centers near you and find out what exercise programs they offer
- Do You Need Energy Bars?
The original purpose of power bars and energy bars was to provide quick, convenient calories to athletes. Athletes who work out for more than 60 minutes do need to give themselves a calorie re-fill.
Check the nutrition panel on one of these bars before you choose one though. Are there more than 250 calories? If so, it’s really more like a candy bar than something that’s good for you. What about other nutrients, like vitamins, protein, etc? If there are a lot of empty calories, you’re better off eating things like fresh fruit, yogurt and cereal instead.
Source: The American Dietetic Association
Fall Workout Wear
If you don’t wear enough clothing during your fall workouts, you start out shivering. But if you wear too much, you end up getting overheated. The solution?
Next to your skin, wear fabric that wicks moisture away from your body. Fabrics like thinsulate, polypropylene, etc. That way, when you’ve gotten warmer and begin to perspire, your body stays dry.
You can remove your outer layer as you get hot, and put it back on as you cool down.
Exercise for Lupus
If you have lupus, it’s especially important for you to exercise. That may sound strange, because lupus can cause joint pain and fatigue. When you’re tired and your joints hurt, exercise might be the last thing you want to think about.
But getting regular exercise can actually help keep your joints from getting stiff. It can also increase muscle strength and reduce stress. Talk with your doctor first about the best kind of exercise for you. Swimming, walking and bike riding may be your best bet. Then start slowly. Don’t give up on yourself if you take a day off.
After several weeks, you’re likely to notice improvements in your energy level, joint symptoms and feelings of stress.
Source: Lupus Foundation of America
Exercise to Prevent Colds
Getting regular exercise might help you get fewer colds this fall and winter. In a study of healthy men and women, those who got 30 minutes of moderate exercise most days of the week had 23 percent fewer colds than those who did hardly any exercise at all. The researchers believe that being physically active stimulates the immune system.
On the flip side, people who were extremely active, such as marathon runners, had a higher risk of getting a cold.
Source: Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, August 2002