As the body ages, it’s not always equipped to handle the challenging physical situations in ways it was when it was younger. While this truth isn’t loved by many, it does call for even further cold-weather conditioning in the dead of winter.
Typical cold-weather safety tips still apply for seniors, but there are extra precautions that they need to take to accommodate their changing bodies. How do you still embrace physical activity in the dead of winter?
Start with Basic Health
Get the groundwork out of the way by avoiding common seasonal ailments, such as the flu or a cold. Simple, day-to-day healthy actions should be embraced by people in all walks of life but especially those with or around sensitive immune systems (like the elderly or those who are very young). Washing your hands, staying hydrated, eating healthy, and getting a good night’s rest are all important practices. Helping seniors prepare healthy meals to eat throughout the week is an excellent way to promote seasonal wellness.
The reason keeping seniors’ immune systems strong is so important in the winter comes down to two things: cold weather leaves you more susceptible to getting sick, and seniors are more vulnerable to things like infections. An extremely sick or unwell senior may get worse if you let them spend too much time outside, especially if the temperature is below freezing or they are improperly dressed for the weather.
Bundle Up, Buttercup
Reducing the effects of colder weather may be helpful. Making sure there’s plenty of light available to them, even indoors, as well as warm temperatures can decrease the effects of seasonal depression.
It’s your job to make sure your seniors are at a temperature comfortable for them, which may be different than what is comfortable for you. This could also mean offering them warmer clothing choices— sweatpants and sweaters may be wise as opposed to a t-shirt and jeans.
It’s very important that seniors are comfortable and warm enough to be healthy. Be sure to also take this into consideration when changing indoor temperatures, opening any windows or doors, or organizing outside activities.
Motivation to Exercise
Seasonal depression is a problem for people of all ages. Seniors need to stay healthy and exercise, especially in the winter when they are more vulnerable to bad health issues, but it can be hard when they just don’t feel like even getting out of bed some days! So how do you motivate a senior to stay in shape and keep themselves strong in the winter?
The social benefits of exercising may be one way to convince seniors to work out. Getting out of the house and exercising with others is a great way to stay busy. In the winter, a helping hand could provide relief from the isolation that cold temperatures can encourage.
How do you motivate the seniors in your life to stay healthy and exercise during the winter? Let us know in the comments below. And come back again on Thursday for some Outdoor Winter Activities for Older Adults and Grandchildren!