The winter season can be a fun and exciting time, from the joy of the holidays to spending more time with friends and family. It also comes with a few challenges for older adults, however, such as harsher weather and the cold and flu season. Building healthy lifestyle habits is a great way to feel healthy, strong and well-rested all winter long. Here are four, easy-to-follow tips for senior health during the winter.
Staying active is one of the most important things seniors can do for their health. Whether you choose to bundle up outside or do an indoor workout, try adding a little activity to your routine each day. This could be as simple as a 20-minute walk with a friend or taking time to stretch in the morning. Even daily activities, such as light housework or walking to your mailbox, can make a difference for your health.
Not feeling motivated to exercise? Try asking a friend to be your accountability partner. Doing an at-home workout video or attending a class is a lot more fun with a friend. While finding time to exercise might be a bit more challenging during the cold months, it’s an important part of senior health during the winter.
Don’t get caught up in New Year’s resolutions that demand you go on an all-new diet to be healthy this year. Instead, focus on healthy habits you can sustain all year long. Eating nutrient-dense foods, such as fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and protein, are an important part of senior health during the winter. One of the easiest ways to stay on track is by planning ahead. Choose the meals you’d like to make for the week before grocery shopping. If you eat at a dining hall, ask if you can get a copy of the week’s menu to plan ahead.
Preparing healthy snacks is another great way to fit nutritious foods into your diet. Pack small bags with popcorn, baby carrots or your other favorites for healthy fuel that’s ready to go. Many pre-packaged snacks offer plenty of benefits, such as cheese sticks (a great source of protein) or small packages of nuts (which offer lots of healthy fats). A good strategy for senior health during the winter is to look at which nutritious foods you can add to your daily routine.
During the winter months, it can be tempting to stay inside where it’s warm, but it’s important not to become too isolated. Keeping in touch with friends and being social is an important part of good senior health during the winter. Whether it is putting a weekly video chat on the calendar or joining a book club, try to stay in touch with friends and family.
If you aren’t sure quite where to start, many senior living communities have social events and opportunities throughout the year. Ask someone on staff what’s available. Getting involved in your community is a great way to make new friends. Meaningful friendships are good for your overall health – mind, body and soul.
Although less visible to the eye, mental health is an important part of maintaining senior health during the winter. Have you ever wondered why the winter months can feel a bit gloomy? The loss of sunlight can throw off your body’s internal rhythms. This is sometimes referred to as the winter blues.
To avoid the winter blues, make sure you are getting plenty of sunlight each day. This could mean going for a walk or opening up your blinds each morning. It’s also important to get plenty of sleep. Sticking to a consistent schedule in which you go to bed and rise around the same times each day can help with this.
While feeling a bit of the winter blues is normal, more severe feelings of hopelessness or depression during the winter months may indicate what’s known as seasonal depression. If you are feeling depressed, please reach out to a medical professional for help.
Taking care of your health is an important part of living your senior years to the fullest. Habits that make you feel strong, well-rested and full of energy are key when it comes to senior health during the winter. From fitness classes and walking trails to nutritious dining options, Advent Christian Village offers a number of resources to help seniors maintain a healthy lifestyle all year long. Click here to schedule a tour today.