Even if you’re fighting fit in your 50s, there’s no running away from the fact that it is more difficult to stay healthy as you get older – especially during the chilling winter months.
Why? Well, with cold days and bitter nights comes an increased risk of viral infections. For the older generation, the fall-out from such infections can be hugely debilitating when they aren’t treated right away, so it’s a good idea to plan against winter bugs, like the flu and pneumonia, well in advance.
To keep yourself fit as a fiddle all winter long, read our top tips for how to stay healthy, below.
Get yourself vaccinated
The UK has its fair share of bitter winters, so it’s important to plan for when the chill bites.
For those who have a weakened immune system, such as the older population, the best prevention against winter bugs is to get your flu jabs. Unfortunately, many older people aren’t getting their jabs and, as of last year, more than 60% of flu cases affected those over 65.
To bring that figure down, and avoid a potential stay in hospital, the best thing you can do is plan ahead. Get your flu jab before winter begins (the best time to get it is usually early October, but any time is better than no time). Those over 65 can also get the pneumococcal vaccine (to protect against pneumonia) for free; ask your local GP if you think you’re eligible.
Wrap up well
Nobody wants to be left shivering at the bus stop – especially those who are reaching retirement age.
For the older generation, warmth is more than just a case of feeling cosy– it’s crucial to health. This is because your body loses muscle as you age, leading to reduced natural body insulation. Get your body too cold in old age and you could run the risk of blood pressure spikes and potential heart attacks or stroke.
To keep yourself toasty this winter, stay protected from the elements with a warm hat, scarf, gloves and a long and thick winter coat. And don’t forget to layer up.
Get the temperature just right
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the ideal temperature for your living room should be 21 degrees, while the bedroom should be slightly cooler at 18 degrees.
If your home struggles to feel toasty at 21 degrees, however, there might be issues with your home’s insulation. To get started with insulating your home, close off rooms that aren’t being used (you can then turn off their radiators to save on heating bills ), close vents, invest in double glazing, insulate your loft (the CSE advises 270mm depth for wool insulation) and place towels or blankets under doors which let the draught in.
For financial help on fuelling your home, look at how much Winter Fuel Allowance you are entitled to.
Lead a winterproof lifestyle
Along with prepping your home for the winter chill and keeping your vaccinations up to date, there are a few extra things you could do to make yourself feel better in the colder months.
Take a look at a few additional lifestyle tips to follow when the cold weather hits:
- Aim for at least one hot meal every day – and try to stick to warm drinks throughout the day to warm the body up.
- Only drink alcoholic drinks in moderation, if at all. Alcohol makes you lose body heat over time.
- Keep moving. You need to keep that blood pumping, so make sure you’re walking often (even if it only involves popping to the kettle and back).
Now you know how to stay healthy during winter, you may want to consider warming up your pension pot, should the unexpected (like a broken boiler or a leaky roof) occur.
One of the quickest and safest ways to bolster your retirement fund could be to release equity from your home. For more information about releasing equity, contact the Equity Release Supermarket team on 0800 802 1051, or email [email protected], for a free consultation.