5 Winter Health Tips

5 Winter Health Tips for Older Adults

Winter is upon us, and as the temperatures drop, it can become more challenging to stay healthy and active. Older adults can be especially prone to the “winter blues,” so it’s more important than ever to be mindful of your habits and mood during the colder months. Exercise is a proven mood-booster-and eating healthy can help you feel strong enough to fight off those winter colds.

Below are 5 easy ways to stay healthy, during the winter months.

1. Keep Eating Healthy

During the winter months, it can be more challenging to maintain a healthy diet. Since most produce items are “out of season” during the winter. Take this opportunity to check out your store’s selection of frozen veggies, be sure to stock up on winter fruits and vegetables, like pomegranates, cranberries, fruits, grapes, and root vegetables. It is also important to eat to support your immune system; this includes taking your vitamins (especially Vitamin C) and eating foods rich in zinc, such as fish, oysters, poultry, and eggs.

 2. Exercise Outdoors, Smartly

If you are able-bodied and have your doctor’s permission to exercise, don’t let colder weather keep you from enjoying your favorite outdoor activities. Be sure to dress in layers so you can remove layers of clothing as needed. And be sure to wear a hat since the majority of your body heat escapes through your head.  Don’t forget your sunscreen, sunglasses with UV protection, and protect yourself from windburn as well. Be smart about checking the weather forecast and wear proper footwear for the season.

3. Keep in Touch

Older adults often face an increasing sense of isolation; proactively fight the winter blues by keeping in touch with friends and family members during the colder months. Make appointments to meet for coffee, or lunch, set aside time for a longer phone call with family or friends on a regular basis. Take special care of others you know are primarily home-bound. Helping others is an excellent way to feel connected.

4.  Let the Sunshine In

Sunshine, and the Vitamin D it imparts to your body is key in battling the winter blues. Try your best to get fresh air and some natural light every day, even if it’s just to check the mail. If it’s particularly cold, open your blinds or spend a few minutes sitting by the window. Don’t under-estimate the value of light and sunshine in helping your energy level and overall winter attitude.

5. Keep Warm Inside

As we age, it gets increasingly difficult to maintain body temperature, and with a more limited budget, we may be tempted to save on heating bills. Unfortunately, hypothermia is a very real concern for older adults. An easy way to ensure you are staying warm is to set your thermostat to as least 68-70F.

For Low Income Home Assistance Program (LIHEAP) information and income guidelines on the Iowa Quad Cities contact Community Action of Eastern Iowa at 563-324-3236 and on the Illinois Quad Cities contact Project Now at 309-793-6391, or you may contact Milestones Area Agency on Aging at 855-410-6222 for more information.