Ask the Expert: How to Stay Active Indoors

Dear Kara:

My husband and I are very active, and when the weather in Columbus is nice we enjoy taking a daily walk. But as soon as it gets a little colder outside, we both prefer to stay indoors. I had a hip replaced a few years ago, and I’m a little anxious about falling on the ice. Now that it is starting to get cold out again, we are looking for ways to stay mentally and physically active indoors.

Do you have any suggestions?

The Edwards

Dear Mrs. Edwards:

You are not alone in wanting to stay indoors out of the cold! I hear that statement often during the late fall and winters, and not just from seniors.

I do have a few suggestions for you and your husband to consider.

Get Moving!

  1. First, walking is a great form of exercise! But I understand your reluctance to walk outside when it is snowy and icy. The good news is that there are several ways to get your daily walk in that won’t require you to brave the elements. Many shopping malls open early for walkers. You can lace up your sneakers and walk before the rush of the crowds begins for the day. Call the Columbus-area shopping mall nearest you to see what they offer.
  2. If you can’t find a mall near you that offers morning walking or if you prefer to walk later in the day, consider going to a department store or home improvement store. Walking laps around the outside aisles of these larger stores is another easy way to get your walk in. Wear a pedometer or fitness tracker to monitor your progress.
  3. Another idea is to check with your health insurance provider to see if they partner with Silver Sneakers. Many Medicare replacement plans offer a membership at no cost to seniors. Silver Sneaker classes take place at YMCA branches, local rehab communities and other fitness centers.
  4. For days when the weather is just too bad to leave home, consider investing in a treadmill or stationary bike. If you ask friends and family, you might even be able to find a used one in good condition. Another few snowy day activities might be Wii fitness games or taking a virtual Chair Yoga class on YouTube.

Keep Your Mind Sharp

  1. Staying mentally active is also important when cabin fever starts to set in. Playing cards, painting, sketching and listening to music are all good activities. You might also consider learning how to play an instrument or taking up a new foreign language. Many can be done completely online.
  2. Strolling Trivia is one of the most requested events in our communities. Participants answer challenging trivia questions while strolling along. Topics range from current events to American history. Visitors are always welcome to join us!

I hope this gives you and your husband a few new ideas to try this winter, Mrs. Edwards! And please don’t hesitate to call us if you would like more information and times for Strolling Trivia.

Best Regards,

Kara Beamish, Director of Rehab