8 Ways For Seniors To Stay Active This Holiday Season
Staying healthy can be a challenge during the holiday season, when diet and exercise often take a backseat to the more festive tasks of shopping and eating. But there are things you can do to make sure you enjoy all the season has to offer without sacrificing your health.
Here are 8 tips to help you or the senior in your life stay healthy and active this month!
- Plan Ahead
From rich meals to tempting and tasty homemade snacks, the holidays are a time for many to overindulge. Try to plan meals with other events in mind. For example, if a big dinner is planned, consider serving a lighter lunch of salad or soup. You don’t want to deny anyone the food they like to eat at this time of year, but you don’t want anyone to overdo it either.
- Follow Dietary Restrictions
Some seniors must follow special diets, such as low salt or sugar-free. It can be difficult to adhere to a diet during busy, stressful times, especially if there aren’t many healthy options available. To make it easier to stay on track, keep healthy options like fresh-cut vegetables and fruit on hand.
- Keep Exercising
In many parts of the country, the holidays are synonymous with cold weather and snow. To stick to an exercise schedule, bundle up and invite your relatives to join you for a walk around the block. If it’s snowing or icy outside, drive to an indoor shopping mall and walk a few laps while window-shopping.
- Share The Work
Between cleaning the house and cooking for a crowd, hosting a big holiday meal can be a source of stress. If an older relative traditionally hosts a big holiday meal, consider passing the tradition on to the younger generation of family members. If the relative insists on hosting, have younger family members volunteer to clean or prepare part of the meal.
- Decrease Gifts
For many seniors, especially those on a fixed income, the holidays can be a financial challenge due to purchasing gifts for many family members. To reduce stress from paying for gifts, consider having a family grab bag, where everyone contributes one gift.
- Rest after Traveling
For some seniors, the holidays are a time to travel long distances to visit family and friends. Whether they travel by car, rail or plane, keep in mind that an older relative may need to rest upon arrival. Offer the options of watching television or taking a nap before heading out for a day of shopping and visiting.
- Make Homes Accessible
If older relatives are visiting your home for the holidays, ensure your home is safe and accessible. Be aware of obstacles in your home, such as area rugs which can pose a trip hazard for canes and walkers. Consider having older relatives sleep on the first floor of your home or in a room with a nearby bathroom. In addition, use nightlights in the hallway so they don’t stumble in the dark.
- Stay Involved
Recognize that seniors still want to feel they are part of the holidays. For many, that may include helping out with holiday preparations. It’s a good idea to reduce stress by offering to hold the holiday event at your home instead of theirs, but still keep them involved by having them cook a favorite dish or help decorate the home.
With an open mind and a little planning, seniors can stay healthy and follow their diets, while also having fun with their family members this holiday season.