The new year is upon us, which means excitement! Possibilities! Adventures! … and, unfortunately, several more months of winter. As much fun as it is to have a white Christmas, once the holidays are over, the winter weather may give you a severe case of the blahs. The ice, snow and cold can make it difficult to stay active during these chilly months, and difficulty getting out can result in boredom and a touch of the blues. That’s why it’s more important than ever to pay attention to your health – physical, emotional and mental – so you can kick off the new year like the fresh beginning it truly is. Here are five of our top ways to stay healthy, active and engaged while the cold winds blow.
Eat a Healthy, Varied Diet
Brr! When it’s this cold out, our thoughts and taste buds naturally turn to hearty favorites like stews, pot roast, roasted vegetables and other heavy, warm favorites. Fresh vegetables? You may not think about them or crave them, especially since the produce aisle looks pretty sad this time of year (not to mention expensive). In order to get your daily recommended intake of vitamins and minerals, check out the frozen vegetable aisle (which are harvested and preserved during the prime growing season) and choose seasonal fruits like oranges, grapes, pomegranates and cranberries. Don’t forget to eat foods that boost your immune system, like poultry, eggs, fish, oysters and other foods rich in zinc and Vitamin C.
Exercise In a Smart, Safe Way
Exercise is (as you know) one of the best and easiest ways to remain healthy in your senior years. But with the ice and snow, it may be difficult or treacherous to get outside and take part in your favorite activities. How ironic would it be if, as you exercise to help you reduce your fall risk, you end up slipping and falling on the ice?
Instead of braving the cold, consider indoor exercises like yoga, power-walking around the mall, strength training at home or exercising along with a video. If the weather is nice, you can always take a nice, brisk walk outside – just be sure to check the weather forecast, dress in layers so you’re warm enough and wear proper footwear.
Keep it Sparkling, Keep it Clean
A little bit of sunshine can be exactly what you need to beat the winter blues. Throw open your drapes and soak up some sweet, sweet Vitamin D. At the same time, do some post-holiday cleaning to get your home squeaky clean for spring’s approach. Not only will it make you feel good, but it can play a part in keeping your home germ-free (very important during cold and flu season).
After the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it’s easy to fall back into routine, and many seniors can end up feeling lonely and isolated as everyone goes about their daily lives. Be proactive! Do your part to fight the winter blues by making coffee, lunch or other dates with friends and family members on a regular basis. Consider reaching out to friends who may not be as mobile as you are, because we bet they would like some social engagement as well. You can also consider volunteering or asking others who are homebound what you can do to help them.
Fight Off Frostbite
As we get older, our bodies naturally start running a little cold. Unfortunately, this means that the winter months hold dangers like frostbite and hypothermia unless you take a few precautions. Be sure your home is always at least 68 degrees or warmer, and make sure you have plenty of sweaters, wool socks and other layers to keep you toasty warm. In order to help conserve heat in your home, you (or a handyman) can caulk drafty windows, put plastic film insulation on windows and close off rooms you don’t use in order to shunt your heat to where it’s needed.
It’s easy to want to sit back and relax during these winter months – and that’s definitely something you can do! With just a little planning and foresight, you can enjoy the rest of the winter being warm and cozy in your home while still taking steps to live your best life…and kick 2019 off with a bang.