If you're among the seniors who've made New Year's resolutions, chances are they include a commitment to better health and fitness. If that's the case, here's a suggestion: First pay attention to staying on your feet.
Especially if you're planning to ramp up the exercise—and to do so now, in the middle of winter—avoiding falls should be a top priority. You don't want to slip on that first walk in the park and squash your resolution the moment you begin.
With that in mind, here are a few things to add to your fitness-resolution shopping list. For unless you're planning to stay indoors all winter (or are lucky enough to live where the weather is always warm), you're going to need some supplies.
It's always a good idea to limber up inside before you venture into the great outdoors. You could warm-up with some basic stretching and calisthenics in the comfort of your living room, but if you have the space, consider purchasing a treadmill or elliptical machine. A good option for anyone living in tight quarters is FitDesk's under-desk elliptical, an exercise machine you can use while sitting down. The company's portable bike desk, which includes a nonslip surface for a laptop or tablet, is another great device for staying active indoors.
Work on the Walkways
Your first order of business once you step outside should be ensuring that all walkways and entrances are clear of snow and ice. While a good shovel (and a helpful neighbor) should do the trick in most cases, stubborn frozen patches may require more. One option: A non-toxic, pet-safe ice melt you can sprinkle on your pathways by hand.
Focus on Footwear
Reduce your chances of slipping on snow or ice by wearing a pair of sturdy boots. Researchers in Canada recently tested the slip resistance of 98 different winter boots and ultimately identified eight top models they believe are best for keeping folks on their feet. Their results are available at www.ratemytreads.com.
Walkers or joggers who don't want to wear boots—or prefer to don the brands they already own—can instead opt to purchase one of several innovative traction systems designed to accommodate almost any kind of footwear. Two good choices include metal pull-on/strap-on cleats from a company like Yaktrax, or (for those with arthritis or flexibility limitations) a set of IceSpike's screw-in metal spikes, which eliminate the need for straps and buckles altogether.
And for those who use a cane? Be sure to equip it with an ice grip on the tip. The simplest tip attachments fit all canes and include multiple steel prongs, while more-elaborate models feature things like rubber “wings" designed to provide a bit of extra balance.
Be Ready for Anything
Since even the best slip-prevention technology offers no guarantee you'll stay on your feet, it's important you have a way to call for help if you need it. The device for the job: The Lively Wearable, a senior-friendly fitness tracker you can wear on your wrist that includes a built-in “Urgent Response" button that works with your smartphone for emergency situations.
Finally, it's always safer (and a lot more fun) to exercise with a partner. You'll be there to help each other if anything goes wrong—and to cheer each other on as you make progress toward your goals.
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