Christmas decorations

Older adults are experiencing more mental health issues like health-related anxiety and depression amid another wave of the coronavirus pandemic. With getting active being one great way to boost mood, the upcoming winter season can make things much more difficult. However, with the OSU ice rink reopening and gym and art classes being on offer, there is some great news for seniors in Columbus.

OSU ice rink reopens

Exercise is well known for being a major stress reliever, with the endorphins produced able to help reduce feelings of sadness, depression, and anxiety. That said, seniors should aim for two and a half hours of moderate intensity exercise per week, according to Mayo Clinic Health System — though achieving this during a cold winter can make this goal a bit challenging. Thankfully, the Ohio State ice rink has once again opened, allowing for the public to take advantage of the colder weather and to get active in a fun way this holiday season. With an admission fee of six dollars for the general public and precautions in place to prevent overcrowding in addition to face mask requirements, safety is undoubtedly a priority while on the ice. For those that wish to participate, the schedule for open skating is determined on a monthly basis, and is announced on the rink’s Facebook page. 

Getting creative at the CAC

Exercise is a necessary component to staying healthy as we age, though getting creatively active also aids in reducing stress, boosting mood, and cultivating inspiration. The Cultural Arts Center located in downtown Columbus is just one great place for seniors to do just that, and features several classes and workshops — including sculpting, ceramics, painting, weaving, and drawing. However, seniors can also become creatively active in their free time by keeping a sketchbook of their own. Allowing for creative expression at any time throughout the day, this is a great way to develop drawing skills, though learning to draw human anatomy can pose more of a challenge. Step by step tutorials, however, can enable seniors to effectively begin their artistic journey all on their own via illustrations and text that makes drawing the many features of the hand much easier, from the fingers to the palm.

Gym benefits and more through SilverSneakers

For seniors looking to stay active on a budget throughout the holiday season, resources available in Columbus can make a world of difference. SilverSneakers, for instance, is one program aimed at those aged 65 and older that promotes getting active. At participating gyms, seniors can enjoy the use of facilities — including equipment, pools, and walking tracks at no cost. SilverSneakers also provides access to online resources like workout videos, allowing seniors to stay active from home should the weather be too harsh to head to the gym. When it comes to results, individuals with more gym visits actually had higher self reported physical and mental health scores, according to one 2019 study of SilverSneakers participants. 

Staying active as we age is a great way to boost and maintain positivity. With activities like ice skating and getting creatively active through art in addition to resources like the Cultural Arts Center and SilverSneakers, there are a variety of ways to stay active in Columbus.