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Staying Healthy as a Family Over Winter

Winter 1The winter brings lots of fun activities, from sledding to ice skating to skiing. Unfortunately, it also brings sickness thanks to forcing you all into close quarters over those cold months. That’s why it is crucial to stay healthy and active throughout the season. This is even more important for seniors, who must maintain their health to avoid further illness and hospital stays. If you have an older adult such as your mom or dad living with you and your family, involve everyone in activities that will keep them healthy.

Importance of Staying Healthy

Staying active can benefit both your physical and mental health, particularly through the winter months when access to the outdoor is limited. You can guard against potential health problems, such as diabetes, as well as improve your existing health by keeping up with a regular fitness routine. This doesn’t have to be strict exercise, like treadmills or weight lifting. It can be as simple as taking a walk or going for a jog, or playing outside in the yard with the kids. Anything that keeps your heart rate up and your body off the couch as much as possible is beneficial. According to NIH, inactive people have twice the risk as active people to develop heart disease. With regular activity, people of all ages — especially seniors — can prevent or delay disease, better manage stress, improve their mood and boost their cognitive function.

Get Moving

A sedentary lifestyle is the quickest way to become overweight and adopt unhealthy habits. Instead, make sure your family is getting plenty of exercise around the house. Involve your kids in encouraging their grandparents, aunts and uncles to walk up and down the stairs, stroll through the hallways, change up their routine and even do some exercises to a fitness DVD, advises Concordia Lutheran Ministries. Go for a family walk outside on days that aren’t too cold. Take the time to observe nature and even collect items like pinecones and leaves for craft projects with the kids later.

Head to the Gym

Every member of your family can benefit from a gym membership. Remember, kids are advised to get at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day, according to Let’s Move. Physical activity is also great for seniors who would otherwise sit around on the couch during the winter. Use the fitness machines like the treadmill to get the heart rate up, lift small weights, do some rowing, go swimming, take an aerobics class or play racquetball. The great part about a gym is the socialization aspect of meeting other like-minded people.

Join a Group

It can be quite isolating in the winter to stay in the house due to the cold weather. Kids have plenty of access to extra-curricular activities and groups, not to mention being in school all day to socialize with peers. For older adults, the opportunities to meet other people their age is quite limited, especially if they’re retired. Sign them up for sewing or dance class at the local senior center, join a book club, take a cooking class or join a bowling league. Some of these things are fun when you pair them with yourself or your children for a fun family bonding activity that closes the generation gap.

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