Exercise and physical activity

Here are seven tips to help you stay active this winter.

Warming up before a workout is always a good idea, and warm-ups are especially important during the winter months. Even though our core temperature is a constant 98.6 degrees, our muscles, tendons and ligaments get colder when the weather is cold. To reduce the risk of injury, start your workout with light exercise.
We get our share of rain during the winter months in Southern California, so be prepared when you head out for a walk. Wear shoes that offer good traction so you’ll be less likely to lose your  footing on slick sidewalks. If rain is forecast, wear a raincoat and take an umbrella, or bring a folding poncho you can keep in your pocket just in case.
Even though the need to drink water is emphasized more during the summer, we can still get dehydrated during the winter. As we get older, we’re more prone to dehydration, and the risks can be more serious. Always remember to drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workout.
It’s hard to know how warm your clothing needs to be before leaving for a walk. You’ll probably get warmer once you’ve been moving for a while, but you never know when the wind might pick up. Even if you feel fine without a coat, carry a coat just in case. Your first layer should be made of a material (not cotton) that wicks sweat off your skin.
Wintertime means less daylight, and walking in the early morning or evening can be dangerous due to the dim light or darkness. Motorists might not see you, especially if you wear dark clothing. If you can’t plan your walks during daylight hours, put reflective tape on your clothing (back and front), or wear a reflective vest. It also helps to wear light-colored clothing.
Talking with a friend while exercising can make an otherwise dreary winter day more enjoyable. Also, walking with a friend will make you more visible to motorists.
Consider bringing walking poles on your next walk. Available through fitness and sporting goods retailers, they can aid with balance and help you burn more calories.

3 Benefits of Exercise

Research has shown that people who exercise in their later years improve the health of their bodies and minds. A sound exercise program requires balancing all three types of exercise (flexibility, cardio and strength) to get the most benefits for your efforts.

FLEXIBILITY: Be sure to warm up and stretch before you work out and always stretch after exercise. Stretching can improve blood circulation and help prevent injuries. When you stretch, don’t bounce; instead, move gently through the stretch. You should only feel a gentle pull on your muscles. If it hurts slow down and work up to a full stretch.
CARDIO: Cardio gets the heart pumping, and that makes it stronger. Start with a daily 10-minute walk or swim a lap around the pool. Once you get the hang of it, go for longer walks or swim more laps.
STRENGTH: Strength training is made up of simple exercises that help keep your muscles strong. Arm presses, bicep curls, lunges, and squats can help you build muscle, improve balance and reduce your risk for falls. Before you start any exercise plan, always check with your doctor. They may have recommendations specific to your health condition.

Aspire Health Plan is a Medicare Advantage HMO plan sponsor with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in Aspire Health Plan depends on contract renewal. Other providers are available in our network. Aspire Health Plan complies with applicable Federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex. ATENCIÓN: si habla español, tiene a su disposición servicios gratuitos de asistencia lingüística. Llame al 1-855-570-1600 (TTY: 711). 注意:如果您使用繁體中 文,您可以免 費 獲得語言援助服務。請致電 1-855-570-1600 (TTY: 711). This information is not a complete description of benefits. Contact the plan for more information. We are open 8 a.m.–8 p.m. PST Monday through Friday (except certain holidays) from February 15 through September 30 and 8 a.m.–8 p.m. PST seven days a week from October 1 through February 14. H8764_MS_ActivitiesHandOut_1117_IA_112417