The senior population is booming, with more than 10,000 people turning 65 every day. Baby boomers have shaped history and changed the world, and now they’re changing what it means to grow older. Fifty-two percent of seniors reported in one survey that they are active four or more days per week.
Active seniors can lead lives that are more engaged than ever before, thanks to a shift in cultural norms, clubs and services devoted to active senior living, and families that increasingly recognize the health benefits of an active life. But when cooler weather strikes, many seniors are tempted to stay indoors and hibernate. Here are five great strategies for staying active this holiday season and beyond.
Go See a Performance
The holiday season is a great time to see some holiday classics. Attending a performance means you just show up, sit back, and let someone else do the work. Of course, if you relish the chance to get dressed up and take some photos, it can also be a great date night (including for a date with the grandkids). The Nutcracker and Messiah are perennial favorites. For something a little lower key, try taking the grandkids to see Frozen 2, or taking in a holiday movie at your local cineplex.
Hibernate with Someone Else
Can’t bear the thought of bundling up and fighting the cold? You can enjoy the holidays more when you hibernate with someone you love. Invite your grandkids over for a sleepover and movie night, then camp out in the living room watching classic and/or newer movies. Plan a family baking day or make a gingerbread house. Or, sit by the fire drinking hot cocoa while playing board games and telling favorite family stories. Cuddling up inside gives you plenty of chances to include everyone.
Try a Winter Sport
If you’re in good health and need a little adventure, try a winter sport. Many communities have ice-skating rinks, even when the temperature is above freezing. For a heavier adrenaline rush, try heading to a ski resort or taking a snowboarding class. If you don’t love sports or worry about injuries, try taking a grandchild or two to check out a new sport, and enjoy their amusement instead.
Sign up for a Class
Enrolling in a winter class is a great way to motivate yourself to get up, get out of bed, and get moving. After all, your classmates are waiting for you and you’ve already paid to enroll. Many senior and community centers offer low-cost options. Some community colleges also offer continuing education seminars that seniors can audit at a steep discount. No matter what you’re into, you can find a class for it. Gardeners may enjoy canning during the gardening off-season, for example, while family photographers may want to sharpen their skills with a digital photography or photo editing course.
Volunteering can ease stress and anxiety, help you appreciate the good in your own life, and offer a community of new friends. The holiday season is a great time to get involved in a new volunteer project because so many organizations need volunteers. When you invest in helping others, you may derive so much pleasure from it that you’ll want to keep doing it year-round. Check out VolunteerMatch to find the perfect project. Your local church, senior center, or animal shelter may also have ideas about how you can support your community.
Of course, you don’t have to join an organization to give back. Try harnessing your skills for good. If you’re a talented cook, consider donating some meals to a local domestic violence shelter — or just cooking for a lonely neighbor. If you love card or board games, visit a nursing home or children’s hospital to get lonely and sick people to join in on the fun. If you’re an expert shopper, buy presents for homeless children or adopt a family this season.
Staying active when the temperatures are frigid and last-minute holiday traffic is everywhere can be difficult. But with a little ingenuity, you can make this holiday season your best yet.