JFS Perspectives

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Seniors Matter: Staying Active and Healthy in the Winter

Seniors Matter: Staying Active and Healthy in the Winter

During the winter, many of us want to stay indoors, relax, and enjoy some comfort food that is sure to put us on the couch for a long nap. However, it is important to keep in mind the importance of staying healthy during the winter months.

Participating in simple exercises, knowing how to navigate health and safety in the winter, and staying engaged can make marked improvements on health and well-being. Aging does not mean keeping a healthy lifestyle is impossible.


  • Boosts cardiovascular health, which helps prevent or delay many chronic illnesses and reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke. Taking a walk around the home, following an exercise video, or swimming can boost heart rate. Even doing 10-minute seated exercises with light hand weights will suffice, especially if you are new to exercise, as weights benefit bone density and prevent osteoporosis.
  • Helps maintain a healthy weight. Metabolism declines with age, but exercise can help reverse an unhealthy weight and keep body fat and blood sugar in check.
  • Strengthens muscles and flexibility. Combining Pilates and yoga can help build both strength and flexibility. Focusing on isolating a specific muscle group, like the core, can improve balance and help prevent falls. 
  • Improves brain function. Exercise reduces many cognitive declines present in older adults. You can also stay inside and keep the brain active via crossword puzzles, Sudoku, word search, and books, which help seniors multitask.

Don’t Make Wintertime Exercise and Health a Chore…Make It Fun!

  • Exercise is more successful with the help of a buddy. Finding supports such as family members, friends, community centers, and caretakers can help keep your goals on track, and may even inspire others to stay healthy.
  • Make sure to eat healthy, in-season foods. Not only do our bodies burn more calories in the winter to stay warm, but the cold can mean an increased chance of getting sick. Food rich in vitamins and minerals can help keep you healthy. Alert caretakers, family, or friends if you need cooking assistance. Enjoying a meal with someone can also help fight winter blues.
  • Drink plenty of water. Water is especially important during winter since it’s a dry season. Not drinking enough water can cause confusion and dehydration.
  • Stay warm. Be sure to set your thermostat properly, dress in layers, and keep your head, hands, and neck warm to maintain body heat and reduce risk factors associated with being too cold.

Resources are available that may help you achieve a warm, happy, and healthy winter. Care managers and our intake coordinator at JFS can help connect you with resources such as LEAP applications to help keep your home heated, the Jewish Community Center for increased social opportunities and access to meals, Kosher Meals on Wheels (if eligible), and other community centers that offer modified exercise classes. Call us at 303.597.5000.

Susan HarlorBy Susan Harlor, Jay and Rose Phillips Senior Solutions Center Intern
Susan Harlor is currently pursuing a Master of Social Work degree at Metropolitan State University of Denver. She obtained her Bachelor of Social Work degree from Luther College in 2013. Susan spent part of her time in college in Chicago for three months working with inpatient older adults. She hopes to continue her work with geriatrics in an effort to provide them hope, dignity, and support throughout the aging process.