Ask Joan: Staying active in winter
January 2, 2024

Question: This time of year, I often become restless. I want to exercise more to work off that energy, but the winter weather makes it harder to do that outdoors. Do you have any suggestions?

Answer: I know the feeling! When it’s cold outside, it can be hard to get motivated to move.  Experts tell us exercise can help cut our risk of developing chronic conditions like heart disease, and improve our mood, strength, and balance. Of course, at this time of year cold temperatures, icy sidewalks, and limited daylight can make that more challenging.

Joan Hatem-Roy, CEO of AgeSpan

The Mayo Clinic has some suggestions:

Go local: There are a wide range of options at places like your local senior center, YMCA, or fitness club. You can find everything from low-impact activities, swimming, yoga, one-on-one sessions, and more. Many communities have walking groups inside malls so you may find one that suits your style. Or start your own!

Schedule time to move: Set aside a specific time to exercise. You may enjoy working out in the morning to get a jump on the day while others prefer the evening, to mark the end of the day. You can incorporate additional movement into your routine during the day, such as putting away laundry one item at a time, walking in place during the commercials of your favorite TV shows, and climbing the stairs instead of opting for the elevator.

Heading out: If you do go out, experts suggest taking extra precautions during the winter. Do a light warm up by walking or pumping your arms. Wear several layers of loose clothing. This traps warm air between the layers and acts as efficient insulation. and avoid tight clothing because this can restrict your blood flow and make you lose body heat. And don’t forget to hydrate and wear sunscreen.

Our agency’s Healthy Living Center of Excellence offers free evidence-based exercise workshops that meet virtually. For more information about these and other HLCE workshops, visit our website at

And remember, all movement is beneficial, whether inside or out. I wish you an active and healthy new year!

Do you have questions for Ask Joan? Are you caring for an older adult or need help locating healthy aging resources? Our experienced staff is available to help. Visit us online at for more information. You can also call us at 800-892-0890 or email

Joan Hatem-Roy is the Chief Executive Officer of AgeSpan.

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