Exposure to cold weather for prolonged periods of time can be dangerous. It raises the risk of heart attacks and strokes, and can cause problems for people with breathing diffi culties such as asthma. By following some simple suggestions, we can help ourselves to stay healthy, safe and as comfortable as possible this winter.
Try to stay active as this generates heat and helps to keep you warm.
The important thing is to keep moving, so when you’re indoors, try not to sit still for more than an hour.
If walking is difficult, you can do chair-based exercises. But even simply moving your arms and legs and wiggling your toes will get your circulation going.
Two easy ways to keep warm
1. Keep your hands and face warm – if they get cold they can trigger a rise in blood pressure which puts you at risk of a heart attack.
2. Remember that several thin layers of clothing will keep you warmer than one thick layer, as the layers trap warm air.
Four tips to make sure you eat well
1. It’s important to eat enough in winter and hot meals and drinks will help to keep you warm.
2. Try to eat at least one hot meal each day and have hot drinks during the day.
3. Include a good range of foods in your diet so that you’re getting plenty of nutrients and vitamins. Remember that frozen vegetables are just as good as fresh.
4. If you’re worried about a poor appetite, speak to your GP.
‘It helps to do something you enjoy every day. If possible, go for a short walk in the middle of the day, or at least go outside while there is daylight.’
Have a seasonal flu jab
If you’re over 65, the Government recommends that you have a seasonal flu jab. Because seasonal flu viruses are always changing, you need a jab every year, using the latest vaccine.
Give up smoking
Smoking lowers your immune system and can cause serious health conditions. After you stop smoking, you’ll quickly notice that your breathing is easier and that doing any exercise is more comfortable.
Keep your spirits up
It’s not unusual to feel a bit down in winter – particularly when the days are short and it can get dark by 3.30pm. Try to keep to your usual routine and if you can’t visit friends or family, make sure that you phone or Skype them regularly for a chat.