Brrrrr! We’re still in the midst of the cold Chicago winter. Though we haven’t quite repeated last year’s “Chiberia,” we’ve had days that were cold enough that schools were closed. And we’ve still got six weeks or so to go before spring.

But snow, ice and frigid temperatures are no excuse to avoid getting regular exercise. We just have to be a little resourceful. Here’s some great advice from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) on how to be active indoors.

  • Walk on the treadmill, ride the stationary bike, or use the rowing machine that’s gathering dust in your bedroom or basement. Or use one at a nearby gym or fitness center.
  • Work out with an exercise DVD. You can get a free one from the NIA’s Go4Life program (
  • Go bowling with friends.
  • Join a local mall walking group.
  • Walk around an art gallery or museum to catch a new exhibit.
  • Check out an exercise class at your neighborhood Y or senior center.
  • If you like dancing, take a Zumba or salsa class.
  • Try yoga or Tai Chi.
  • Go to the gym and work on your strength, balance, and flexibility exercises or set up your own home gym. All you need is a sturdy chair, a towel, and some weights.  Soup cans or water bottles will do if you don’t have your own set of weights.
  • Go to an indoor pool and swim laps or try water aerobics.
  • How about a game of indoor tennis, hockey, basketball or soccer?
  • Go indoor ice skating or roller skating.
  • Maybe it’s time for some heavy duty cleaning. Vacuum, mop, sweep. Dust those hard-to-reach areas.
  • Play ping pong with the grandkids.

The NIA reminds us that we’re more likely to exercise if it’s convenient. Put your weights next to the sofa so you can do some lifting while you watch TV. Walk around the house while you’re talking on the phone. Make an extra trip up and down the stairs when you do the laundry.

Source: The National Institute on Aging, adapted by IlluminAge AgeWise. Visit to find more tips and resources for staying active.

The information in this article is not intended to replace the advice of your health care provider. Before beginning an exercise program, talk to your doctor about a physical activity “prescription” that’s right for you.