Ways to Stay Active this Winter in New Jersey
As the cold weather makes its way to New Jersey each year, it becomes easier to curl up with a warm blanket and harder to find activities to stay busy. However, it’s important to find things to do that will help you stay physically, mentally and socially active during the winter.
Staying Physically Active
Although it can be tempting to hibernate through the cold winter months, it’s important for your body and your health to find ways to stay active. With snow and ice covering the ground and sidewalks, not only is it cold, but it can also be dangerous for you to walk far and fast enough to benefit from the effort. Instead, here are a couple things you can do to stay physically active indoors.
A fitness center is the perfect place to get started with physical fitness. As a one-stop shop for all thing’s fitness-related, you can find a machine or equipment that fits your desired workout plan. If you join a gym, keep in mind that traveling during harsh winter conditions can be dangerous and difficult. Instead, consider adding a couple pieces of work out equipment to your collection at home or join a retirement community with a fitness center included on the campus.
Residents at Homestead at Hamilton enjoy the benefits of our on-site state-of-the-art fitness center. Our HUR strength-building equipment helps build muscle, increases stamina and promotes overall well-being. Personal trainers are available to assist you in designing an exercise program that meets your fitness needs and goals. Plus, you can take part in a variety of fitness and exercise classes which are led by certified fitness instructors.
Try something new or continue a class that you love and keeps you physically active. Not only does it deliver a great workout led by an instructor, but you can also take the opportunity to socialize and meet new people with similar interests. New Jersey is far from short of fitness classes to choose from, so find something that’s fun and interests you.
At a retirement community like Homestead at Hamilton, you can find classes from fitness training to Sit and Be Fit to Chair Pilates to Chair Yoga. Our programs and recreation calendar has many options that will help you with all your fitness needs.
Water Aerobics and Indoor Swimming
Heated indoor pools make it easy to swim year-round. Some pools even offer walking pools designed to make it easier for older adults and persons with disabilities to exercise easily, taking advantage of the buoyancy water provides.
Window Shopping and Mall Walking
With regional malls located near almost all New Jersey towns and residences, you can take your outdoor walking indoors without skipping a beat. Malls are a great place to walk and stay warm at the same time. You can also enjoy the holiday decorations and do a bit of window shopping while you walk.
Exercising at Home
If leaving your warm, cozy home is too much to ask on any given day, you still have several options to choose from that will enable you to remain physically active. You can purchase exercise equipment such as an elliptical, exercise bicycle or treadmill. These machines will enable you to exercise in the comfort of your own home. Try watching a movie while exercising, it may not even feel like a workout.
Additionally, you can watch exercise videos and follow along with them without special equipment. YouTube has a wide range of videos geared to the needs of people of all ages.
It’s important to note that taking advantage of the exercise classes and equipment in a fitness center may be a more effective strategy in the long run. It’s much easier to exercise regularly or be held accountable for a work out with friends than it is to try to do so by yourself. Friends make it more enjoyable and can encourage you to keep up the good work. Plus, if you were to fall or hurt yourself while exercising, someone is there to offer immediate assistance.
Staying Mentally Active
You may find it surprising, but physical exercise is good for your brain as well as your body. And, mental health is as important as physical health. So, by taking care of your physical health, you are working to keep your brain healthy as well.
Studies and research suggest that activities involving learning and thinking are good for brain health, even to the point of providing some protection against developing dementia. Cognitive stimulation is important. In fact, there’s evidence that the more brain activities you take part in and the more complex the stimulation, the less likely you are of developing dementia. Here are a few activities you can take part in to give your mind a workout. Best of all, you can continue to snuggle up under your favorite blanket during this workout.
Solving Logic Puzzles
Whether you do puzzles on a computer, tablet or phone or do them the “old-fashioned” way with pen and paper, a Sudoku puzzle or a crossword puzzle is one of the best ways to stretch your cognitive muscles. The Alzheimer’s Association has even endorsed Sudoku as a tool that can be used to possibly ward off Alzheimer’s. Once you become proficient at doing a kind of puzzle, it may not be as beneficial as it once was to keep your brain in shape; therefore, keep searching for new ways to stretch your cognitive muscles. Other games similar to Sudoku that you might also enjoy include Hitori and Kakuro.
Brain Fitness Programs
There are many sites offering brain-training tools – some free, some come with a price tag attached. Here are some you can check out for yourself: MindDabble (also available on Facebook), MyHappyNeuron, Lumosity, Fit Brains and BrainMetrix.
Playing with Apps
Apps can be downloaded on your phone, tablet or computer, making it easy to take activities with you wherever you go. Not only will these apps help you fight boredom while sitting in doctor’s offices and airports, but they also stimulate your brain. Some apps test your memory. Others test your general knowledge on a given subject. No matter what your interests are, you’re sure to find an app you’ll enjoy. Here are a few to get you started (just pick the subject that most interests you): Science, Literature, Geography, Math and a Quiz of Knowledge. If you want to explore other options, use the search feature in the Google store to find a quiz or game that interests you.
Learning a New Language
Learning a new language is especially beneficial to your brain. Multilingualism (knowing more than one language) has been shown to be helpful in increasing cognitive function and analytical skills. It also enables the brain to multitask much more efficiently. There are many online tools to help you learn a new language. Some are free; others must be purchased. Here are a few to get you started: Duolingo, Rosetta Stone and Babbel.
Learning to Play a Musical Instrument
Researchers say that playing a musical instrument can and that regularly playing a musical instrument changes the shape and capacity of the brain, while also improving cognitive skills. Is there a musical instrument you’ve always wanted to learn how to play? Why not do it now? Learning a musical instrument will get those creative juices flowing and improve your hand-eye coordination in the process.
Drawing, Sketching and Doodling
Drawing can boost positive brain chemicals that help you feel better and increase neuron synapses, providing you with more access to vivid memories. Best of all, it’s simple to get started. Whether you want to learn how to draw, already know how or just want to improve your skills, all you need is a pencil and paper. If you find yourself stuck and need a little help, here are a few apps to get you started: How to Draw Anime – Manga and How to Draw 3D. If you want to draw something specific, like Each term you search for is likely to return with dozens of choices.
Staying Socially Active
Maintaining friendships and making new ones is critically important to your health in any season. Isolation and loneliness, even perceived loneliness, can lead to many physical and mental health problems, some of which are very serious. Studies have shown that loneliness can increase your chances of dying or of developing dementia. They can also cause depression and depressive symptoms, lead to high blood pressure and much, much more. It can even cause as much as a 14% greater chance of premature death.
Leaving your home can be intimidating during the winter, but you can have intimate social gatherings in your home. Invite a few friends over to:
- Play cards or board games
- Start a book club
- Share a few cocktails or have a wine tasting party
- Enjoy a meal you’ve specially prepared
- Bake and decorate gingerbread men, cupcakes or sugar cookies
- Host a DIY at-home spa party
- Make snow globes
- Do scrapbooking
- Knit or crochet
At Homestead at Hamilton, we’ve made it easy for you to enjoy a variety of activities with others here. Our program calendar is filled with an abundance of hobbies and activities to enjoy with others. You’re sure to find multiple things you’d like to take part in, every single day of the week. Some of the engaging and fun events you can take part in daily or weekly with friends include:
- Games like Bingo, Scrabble and Dominoes
- Poker nights
- Clubs, like the recipe, book, gardening or birthday clubs
- Special outings, like a trip to the casino
- Art and crafting, like card making, paint parties, knitting and crocheting
- Happy Hours Monday through Friday
What better time to get together with friends? These are just a few of the activities that you can share with your friends at Homestead at Hamilton. Be sure to check out the to find these activities, and so much more.
These are just a few suggestions. When friends get together to enjoy each other’s company, the activities are only limited by your imagination. Have fun trying new things. It may not turn out just as you planned but you’re sure to share a lot of fun and laughter as you try out new ideas, events and hobbies with your friends.
Staying Active is Easy at Homestead at Hamilton
From our monthly program calendar that is filled with all kinds of activities to our state-of-the-art fitness center with exercise classes and personal trainers, you’re sure to find a wide variety of activities to enjoy at Homestead at Hamilton. Best of all, you’ll be sharing these activities with friends, both new and old. Our amenities and services, programs and recreation and dining options make life in our premier senior living community extraordinary. Contact us to learn more or to schedule a tour.