As the weather gets cooler in St. Petersburg, many of our residents at Westminster Palms ask how they can stay active when it’s not as easy to get outside. While Florida winters are mild compared to other parts of the country, you may notice your energy levels fluctuate more as the temperatures drop. The key is finding creative ways to keep your body and mind engaged all season long.
Staying physically and mentally active provides many proven benefits for seniors. Regular exercise can reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and certain cancers. It can also boost your mood, improve sleep, and preserve your mobility and independence. Social activities keep your mind stimulated and lead to lower rates of depression and dementia.
Here are some more in-depth tips for seniors to stay active during the cooler months:
Walk Earlier in the Day
While Florida remains relatively warm all year, early mornings tend to be more comfortable for outdoor exercise in the fall and winter. By walking first thing in the morning, you’ll avoid the hottest part of the day. Our tranquil courtyards and walking paths make for a peaceful morning stroll before breakfast. Just be sure to wear light layers you can remove as the day warms up.
Try Indoor Cycling
Stationary cycling is a low-impact cardio workout you can do year-round. We have stationary bikes available in our fitness center, or you can invest in a simple portable cycle. Pedaling works the major muscle groups while keeping stress off your joints. Cycling while listening to music or watching television makes the time fly by!
Go For a Swim
Take advantage of our spacious heated indoor pool for year-round aquatic exercise. Water offers great resistance for a full-body workout but is gentle on your joints. Try swimming laps, walking through the water, or aqua aerobics classes. The social atmosphere helps motivate you to keep moving. Just be sure to stay hydrated while in the warm pool area.
Work Out with a Friend
Having an exercise buddy provides accountability and encouragement to stick to your routine. Recruit a friend with similar fitness levels to join you for walks, strength training or group fitness classes. You’re more likely to stick to a routine when meeting a friend. Working out together is also a great opportunity for social connection.
Caring for houseplants provides light activity along with a mood boost. Potting, pruning and watering plants gets you up and moving. Having fresh greenery and flowers indoors lifts your spirits during dreary winter months. We have a lively gardening club that works in our greenhouse and would love new members!
Flexibility exercises become even more important as we age. Stretching improves mobility, posture and balance. Always warm up muscles before stretching with light movement. Focus on major muscle groups including hips, back, shoulders and hamstrings. Stretch gently, avoiding bounced or jerky movements. Yoga and Pilates are ideal low-impact choices.
Try Chair Exercises
There are countless exercises that can be done in a seated position, ideal for those with limited mobility. Chair aerobics improve strength, balance and range of motion. You can find pre-recorded chair exercise routines online or work with our trainer to develop a custom routine. Moving your body, even while seated, keeps you limber.
Dust Off Your Dance Shoes
Dancing engages the body and mind while being tons of fun. Play your favorite upbeat music and let loose in the comfort of your home. More structured dance styles like ballroom dancing offer light cardio and boost coordination. We frequently host dance parties and recitals that all residents are welcome to participate in.
Join New Activities
Learning new skills and hobbies promotes brain health and social connections. Consider joining one of our many activity clubs like woodworking, puzzles, painting, cooking or book club. Or explore fresh hobbies like jewelry making, card playing, quilting or bird watching. The excitement of new activities makes staying active enjoyable.
Contributing your time and talents helps the community while keeping you engaged. Look for local volunteer opportunities that align with your interests and abilities. Possibilities include reading to children, helping at animal shelters, serving meals, mentoring youth or visiting homebound seniors. Giving back provides a sense of purpose.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to remaining physically and socially active during cooler weather. Be creative and try new things – your body and mind will thank you! Let the Westminster Palms staff know how we can support your active lifestyle all season long. We are here to help you stay healthy, happy and connected.