Exercising in the winter

True enjoyment comes from activity of the mind and exercise of the body; the two are ever united.
— Wilhelm Von Humboldt

At Le Domaine Care, we believe in going above and beyond the basic needs of those in our care. We are devoted to creating an experience of comfort, the feeling one would have in one’s own home environment. Days at Le Domaine Care are filled with an array of activities, from morning walks and exercise classes to singing groups and art gatherings. Our exercise classes are very popular and enjoyed by most of our residents.


Physical activity is vital at any age. Conditions that develop with aging can be delayed when we stay active. When we grow older, our bones become more brittle and our muscles shorten. An elderly person can lose the balance and coordination that they have probably had their entire lives, but by staying active the body maintains its flexibility. Regular exercise helps to keep the heart muscle in shape and ward off common cardiac problems. Cardiovascular training increases respiratory intake and helps fight against common illnesses such as the flu. Even better in winter! With all this in mind, our trainer from Cazfit has developed a training program to maintain the strength and fitness level of our residents. We sat down with, Caroline of Cazfit, to ask her a couple of questions about exercising for the elderly, especially during winter.

My main goal during the session is to bring joy to the residents. I love seeing them happy at the end of the session because if they enjoy it they will come back and that is how they will get the results of improved coordination and strength.
— Caroline Schofield


1. Do you have any tips regarding exercise for the elderly during winter?

Fortunately at Le Domaine we are indoors so the weather is not a problem. If you’re not a resident at the facility, my general winter tips would be to stay active by stretching each morning, go for walks or simply walk up and down the corridor three times to get in some exercise. Often in winter we also forget to drink water, this may be because of the drop in temperature but it is so important that we maintain our water intake no matter the season.


2. During winter, do you change the exercises to work different muscles?

In winter, the exercise sessions still target all the major muscle groups. However each week we do different exercises to target all the muscles. One week we will use dumbells and the following week I change it up using resistance bands. The only thing that I do change during winter is the warm up. If it is a very cold day we will warm up longer before starting with any ‘intense’ training. It is important to warm up the muscles. I sometime also like to incorporate a little more cardio when it is cold. Other than that the session will still focus on resistance, coordination, balance and memory exercises during the cool down and stretch.


3. Does exercising affect the residents’ mood?

Absolutely! They always finish positive knowing that they have done something to improve their health. They feel like they have achieved something that day which makes them happy.

The increased mobility that comes from regular and moderate exercise can help an elderly person maintain their independence. We strongly believe that consistency is more important than intensity. Our trainer, Caroline, is great at leading a lightweight session that brings joy to the residents, and allows them to feel fit and strong.

Wendy Bezuidenhout