Above: Taking a walk in the fresh air is one way to become more fit. Photo by Pixabay.

The new year is a great time to get creative with ways to stay healthy and warm at the same time. When older adults are both physically and mentally active, their risk for several chronic diseases is decreased, while overall brain health is increased. That’s great!

If you’re ready to commit to get fit, here are some ideas.

  • Start swimming: Visit a SilverSneakers location with a swimming pool and get moving!Swimming works the entire body, including the cardiovascular system, without putting stress on your body’s joints, muscles and skeletal system. Along with the endorphins that are being released while swimming, the stretching of the muscles can help the body later relax, which can further decrease anxiety and depression.
  • Join a social league: Several SilverSneakers affiliated gyms offer group workout classes where you can meet new friends. Other leagues in the Atlanta area include golf, softball, bowling and more that will increase overall physical fitness levels and broaden your social circle.
  • Start a book club: Book clubs allow you the chance to gain a new perspective on a topic while remaining socially active, decreasing your chance for cognitive decline or even dementia. If you’re like me and it can be hard to finish a book, book clubs also provide the extra accountability to finish what you started.
  • Move more around the house: While exercising thirty minutes a day, five days a week is recommended, any activity is good activity. Commit to standing up during commercial breaks, putting down your book every 15 minutes to do 10 squats, or walking every day after breakfast and dinner.
  • Learn to play a musical instrument: Whether you’ve played an instrument in the past or not, it’s never too late to start now. Playing a musical instrument is a great way to sharpen your mind, quicken your fingers and take a walk down memory lane with some of your favorite tunes.

While it might not be the best time of year to start walking outside because of the chill, there are plenty of things to commit to doing this season that will keep your body and brain active and healthy. Enjoy!